The Department of Health (DoH) has cautioned the public and medical professionals against using the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19.
“I just want to warn those people who are giving these off label drugs. Tinatawag natin na off-label siya kasi prinoduce sya for another purpose (We call it off-label because it is produced for another purpose),” said DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a press briefing.
Vergeire said that there is still no scientific proof that the Ivermectin can be used as a prevention or treatment for COVID-19.
“I'm just warning those doctors who are doing this without undertaking or undergoing the regulatory process kasi ito po ay maaring makasama sa mga kababayan natin na binibigyan natin. Wala pa naman po tayong sapat na ebidensya na itong Ivermectin ay maaring gamitin para sa COVID-19 (because it may have adverse effects to an individual. We do not yet have enough evidence that this ivermectin can be used for COVID-19),” said Vergeire.
“Hindi po dapat tayo sumusubok ng ganito hanggang hindi po tayo nagkakaroon ng approval ng FDA (Food and Drug Administration) at saka ng Ethics Review Board (We should not try this until we get an approval from FDA and the Ethics Review Board),” she added.
Vergeire said that Ivermectin is a drug originally designed to treat parasitic infections.
“So, we give this Ivermectins for some parasitic worms and ito po ay puwede din ibigay sa mga external parasites katulad ng mga head lice 'yung kuto at saka may mga skin conditions din (So, we give this Ivermectin to treat those with parasitic worms and it can also be given to people with external parasites such as head lice and then to treat certain skin conditions),” she noted.
Vergeire noted that Ivermectin is still being studied by international experts as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
“Ito pong Ivermectin na ginawa sa ibang bansa na study, it was done in vitro. Pag sinabi po nating in vitro study, sa laboratories po ginawa, ginagamit palang doon sa mga petri dish -- 'yung ating mga preparatory agents -- nasa test tube, nasa petri dish (This study on Ivermectin being made in other countries, it was done in vitro. When we say in vitro study, it is done in laboratories. It is still being studied using the preparatory agents such as petri dish or test tube),” she explained.