Committee to review Centra Ivermectin prescriptions

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Centra Health Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee will now oversee the prescription of Ivermectin at Centra hospitals due to an increased local interest in the medicine.

Ivermectin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an antiparasitic medicine used in both humans and animals. The medication has fallen into the spotlight in recent months after gaining popularity as an alternative — and unapproved — treatment for COVID-19.

The FDA has approved Ivermectin tablets to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two medical conditions caused in humans by parasitic worms. Some topical forms of the medication have also been approved to treat external parasites such as lice or for certain skin conditions.

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Certain forms of Ivermectin have also been approved to treat parasites or prevent heartworm disease in animals.

While clinical trials assessing Ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans are ongoing, the FDA has not authorized or approved the drug for this purpose and currently maintains the stance that Ivermectin has not been shown to be safe or effective for this purpose.

Officials stress that while it is extremely unsafe to take animal-grade Ivermectin, levels of Ivermectin approved for human use can still interact negatively with other medications such as blood-thinners.

Humans can also overdose on Ivermectin. An overdose on the antiparasitic, according to the FDA, can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, ataxia, seizures, coma and death.

Wednesday, Sept. 29, Centra officials included a statement on Ivermectin prescriptions in the hospital’s weekly media advisory after increased local interest in the drug.

In the past, officials noted, providers could prescribe Ivermectin without any review process. But due to concerns surrounding inappropriate use of the drug both locally and nationally, Centra’s P&T Committee has moved to create an oversight review process for Ivermectin prescriptions.

“Currently, there are no clinical trials or robust scientific data that supports using this drug to combat COVID-19,” officials wrote. “In fact, the CDC, FDA and Ivermectin manufacturers have released positions not recommending this as a COVID-19 treatment. Until there is significant data around its safety and effectiveness, prescriptions for Ivermectin will be reviewed, approved or denied, on an ad hoc basis.”

According to the release, should a request come to Centra’s P&T Committee for the prescription of Ivermectin, the request will go through an expedited consideration process. The committee has hospital oversight only, and officials noted the group could change its stance on the drug if/when clinical trial data “says otherwise.”