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Emergency Medical Minute


Oct 26, 2021

Contributor: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Ivermectin is a Nobel-Prize winning antiparasitic  used to treat filariasis and onchocerciasis
  • Ivermectin is receiving press due to a scientific study examining ivermectin on COVID-19 viral replication in vitro, but the dosages needed for this effect were much higher than is safe for human use
  • Ivermectin has since been studied in humans with no evidence suggesting it is a viable treatment for COVID-19
  • Ivermectin is a neurotoxin but at normal levels it does not cross the blood-brain barrier
  • Ivermectin toxicity can include altered mental status, seizures, coma, tachycardia, hypotension, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Treatment of suspected ivermectin overdose is predominately supportive


Caly L., Druce J.D., Catton M.G., Jans D.A., Wagstaff K.M. The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Antivir Res. 2020;178:104787. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104787

López-Medina E, López P, Hurtado IC, et al. Effect of Ivermectin on Time to Resolution of Symptoms Among Adults With Mild COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;325(14):1426–1435. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.3071

Roder JD, Stair EL. An overview of ivermectin toxicosis. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1998;40(6):369-370.

Roman YM, Burela PA, Pasupuleti V, Piscoya A, Vidal JE, Hernandez AV. Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jun 28]. Clin Infect Dis. 2021;ciab591. doi:10.1093/cid/ciab591

Chandler RE. Serious Neurological Adverse Events after Ivermectin-Do They Occur beyond the Indication of Onchocerciasis?. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018;98(2):382-388. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.17-0042

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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