'Eroding public confidence': AHS warns against the use of ivermectin amid an 'epidemic of misinformation'

Alberta Health Services wrote a letter to the public on Tuesday warning about what it called an epidemic of misinformation regarding ivermectin.

AHS says in the “sometimes desperate search” for treatments or prevention of COVID-19, inaccurate information has surfaced around which medications are and aren’t effective and it says ivermectin “is not one of them.”

“To suggest AHS is withholding life-saving treatment by not supporting the use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19 is wrong,” the statement read.

“Claims that either the veterinary or human form of the drug is a life-saving medication against COVID-19 are not supported by current research. If there was good evidence for its use against this virus, AHS would absolutely be using it to help patients and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.

“As this evidence does not exist, AHS does not recommend the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 not even as a ‘just in case,’ measure.”

'CONCERNS OF FRAUDULENT DATA'

While early studies suggested ivermectin could have possible benefit against COVID-19, none of the most recent trials have supported the findings, AHS explained.

“There are genuine concerns of fraudulent data being reported from some of the early trials, and the largest trial that supported ivermectin use has already been withdrawn as a result of data fraud,” AHS said.

Neither the veterinary or human drug versions of ivermectin have been deemed safe or effective for the use of treating COVID-19. In February, ivermectin’s manufacturer issued a statement warning against its use.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic used for treatment of worms and parasites in animals. It has also been found useful in the treatment of some human diseases also related to worms and parasites, not COVID-19.

AHS said, ivermectin can cause rash, nausea , vomiting, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, and severe hepatitis if ingested. The use of veterinary versions of ivermectin is “risky” because they contain ingredients for use in much larger animals like horses and cattle.

“Ingestion of large amounts of veterinary ivermectin can cause poisoning and even lead to death,” AHS noted.

Because of inappropriate use of ivermectin, AHS says there is a critical shortage of it in many areas and is not available to treat those parasitic diseases.

“This pandemic of misinformation is eroding public confidence in effective medical treatments and in the healthcare system to the point of endangering lives,” the statement read.