In its tweet to the public, DSHS emphatically states, “Using ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections doesn’t work and can be harmful.” The agency cited an 150 percent increase in calls to the Texas Poison Control Center for possible exposure to ivermectin.
In August, the center received 64 calls regarding the use of ivermectin for treating COVID-19, and DSHS acknowledges that most of them involved mild symptoms requiring no intervention.
The DSHS tweet does not clarify the distinctions between pharmaceutical grade ivermectin intended for humans and approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the ivermectin formulations for animals found in farm stores.
According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, ivermectin is a “pioneering drug” discovered in the late 1970s that “has had an immeasurably beneficial impact in improving the lives and welfare of billions of people throughout the world.”
It was originally introduced as a veterinary drug to combat parasites, but it was quickly discovered to have benefits for humans, such as in fighting “river blindness” caused by worms found in tropical regions.
As Dr. Sheila Page, former president of the Texas chapter of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) pointed out, many medicines are used for both humans and animals although they come in different formulations and concentrations.
“Just because ivermectin is used in horses doesn’t preclude its use in humans,” she told The Texan.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns, “Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle … can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans.”
While in the United States, neither the CDC nor Federal Drug Administration (FDA) endorse ivermectin’s use for the treatment of COVID-19, many treating physicians say they are seeing positive results from its use early in the disease.
Page asserted that ivermectin has been used successfully around the world and that many are ignoring the data showing its effectiveness.
“Ivermectin is well-studied, FDA-approved, and doctors use medications off-label all of the time,” she said.
AAPS endorses early treatment of COVID-19, Page explained, and lists ivermectin as a possible early treatment option to consult with one’s own doctor about prescribing.
Dr. Peter McCullough, a respected cardiologist in Dallas who has been actively advocating early treatment of COVID-19 since early in the pandemic and who has 46 peer-reviewed publications on the infection, published an early treatment algorithm for COVID-19 which includes ivermectin.
In an article published earlier this week, McCullough said, “Misleading statements by the media over the medicine which is safe and effective in COVID-19 and supported by dozens of studies is costing American lives as early treatment is the only way to reduce the composite of hospitalizations and death.”
Dr. Pierre Kory, founder of the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance, has written and spoken extensively about the benefits of ivermectin. ”We regard ivermectin as a core medication in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” the website states.
A database of over 100 COVID-19 ivermectin studies was compiled by the FLCCC Alliance. A meta-analysis showed a 69 percent improvement with early treatment.
Dr. Haruo Ozaki, chairman of the Tokyo Medical Association, recently recommended its use in Japan, citing its “significant benefits in reducing infections and deaths.”
The American Medical Association recently admonished physicians to stop prescribing ivermectin and pharmacists to stop filling those prescriptions, and the Texas Medical Board and Texas State Pharmacy Board issued a statement last week about prescribing treatments for COVID-19 without specifically naming ivermectin.
“The Texas Medical Board (TMB) and Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) do not endorse or prohibit any particular prescribed drugs or treatment for COVID-19 that meet the standard of care. Drugs are permitted to be prescribed off-label. It is the professional judgement of each physician to write their prescriptions while meeting all applicable federal and state statutes and rules. Similarly, each pharmacist must use their professional judgement in dispensing valid prescriptions while meeting all applicable federal and state statutes and rules.”
Merck, the maker of ivermectin and sold under the brand name Stromectol, issued a statement in February 2021 indicating it found no scientific basis for the therapeutic benefits of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies.
Meanwhile, in June, Merck announced an arrangement with the U.S. government to purchase 1.7 million courses for $1.2 billion of its newly developed early course treatment, Molnupiravir, if the drug receives an emergency use authorization from the FDA, as pointed out in an article in The Desert Review.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.