Find out how long ivermectin has been FDA approved and learn about its uses and safety profile.
How long has ivermectin been FDA approved?
Ivermectin is a medication that has been used for decades to treat various parasitic infections in both humans and animals. It was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987 for the treatment of certain parasitic diseases in humans.
Since its approval by the FDA, ivermectin has been widely used as a safe and effective treatment option for several conditions caused by parasites, including river blindness, strongyloidiasis, and scabies. The drug works by paralyzing and killing the parasites, thus preventing further infestation and allowing the body to heal.
However, it is important to note that while ivermectin is FDA approved for certain conditions, it is not approved for the treatment of viral infections, such as COVID-19. There has been a lot of debate and controversy surrounding the use of ivermectin for COVID-19, with conflicting studies and opinions.
It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication or treatment, especially when it comes to off-label use or using medications for conditions they are not approved for. The FDA continues to monitor and evaluate the safety and efficacy of medications, including ivermectin, to ensure the well-being of the public.
The History of Ivermectin
Ivermectin is a medication that has been used for many years to treat various parasitic infections in both humans and animals. It was first discovered in the 1970s by Japanese scientist Satoshi Ōmura, who was conducting research on soil samples. Ōmura isolated a compound from the soil bacteria Streptomyces avermitilis, which was later named avermectin.
In 1981, Dr. William C. Campbell, an Irish researcher working for the pharmaceutical company Merck, successfully modified avermectin to create a more effective and safer compound, which was named ivermectin. This development was a major breakthrough in the treatment of parasitic diseases.
The discovery of ivermectin led to its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987 for the treatment of onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. This parasitic disease affects millions of people in Africa, Latin America, and Yemen, causing severe itching, skin lesions, and visual impairment. Ivermectin proved to be highly effective in controlling the disease, leading to significant improvements in the health and quality of life of affected individuals.
Since its initial approval, ivermectin has also been found to be effective in treating other parasitic infections, such as strongyloidiasis and scabies. It has become an essential medication in the fight against these diseases, especially in regions where they are prevalent.
Mode of Action
Ivermectin works by targeting the nervous system of parasites, causing paralysis and death. It specifically binds to glutamate-gated chloride channels in the parasite’s nerve and muscle cells, leading to increased permeability of chloride ions and hyperpolarization of the cell membrane. This disrupts the normal functioning of the parasite’s nervous system, ultimately killing it.
Impact and Future Potential
Since its discovery, ivermectin has had a significant impact on global health. It has been instrumental in reducing the burden of parasitic diseases and improving the well-being of millions of people worldwide. In recognition of its therapeutic value, Ōmura and Campbell were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015.
Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that ivermectin may also have antiviral properties, including activity against certain RNA viruses. This has led to its investigation as a potential treatment for viral infections, including COVID-19. However, further research is needed to determine its safety and efficacy in this context.
|1970s||Discovery of avermectin by Satoshi Ōmura|
|1981||Development of ivermectin by Dr. William C. Campbell|
|1987||FDA approval of ivermectin for the treatment of onchocerciasis|
Approval by the FDA
Ivermectin was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for the treatment of certain parasitic infections in humans. It was initially used to treat conditions such as onchocerciasis (river blindness) and strongyloidiasis (a type of roundworm infection).
Since its initial approval, the FDA has expanded the approved uses of ivermectin. In 1997, it was also approved for the treatment of scabies, a contagious skin condition caused by mites. In 1999, the FDA approved ivermectin for the treatment of pediculosis (head lice) and in 2001, it was approved for the treatment of rosacea, a chronic skin condition.
It’s important to note that while the FDA has approved ivermectin for certain uses, it has not approved the drug for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The use of ivermectin for COVID-19 is considered off-label, meaning it is being used in a way not approved by the FDA.
Off-label use of approved drugs is not uncommon and is left to the discretion of healthcare providers. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any medication for a purpose not approved by the FDA.
Benefits of Ivermectin
Ivermectin has been widely used for its many benefits. Some of the key advantages of using ivermectin include:
1. Treatment of Parasitic Infections
Ivermectin is highly effective in treating various parasitic infections, such as strongyloidiasis, onchocerciasis, and lymphatic filariasis. It works by killing the parasites and preventing further infestation.
2. Prevention of Heartworm Disease
Ivermectin is commonly used as a preventive treatment for heartworm disease in dogs and cats. Administering regular doses of ivermectin can help protect pets from this potentially deadly disease.
3. Control of Scabies
Ivermectin is an effective treatment for scabies, a contagious skin condition caused by mites. It helps kill the mites and relieve the symptoms of itching and skin irritation associated with scabies.
4. Potential Antiviral Effects
Recent studies have shown that ivermectin may have antiviral effects against certain viruses, such as the Zika virus and the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19. However, further research is needed to fully understand its potential use as an antiviral agent.
5. Low Cost and Accessibility
Ivermectin is a relatively affordable medication, making it accessible to a wide range of people. This is particularly beneficial in regions where parasitic infections are prevalent and resources may be limited.
It is important to note that while ivermectin has many benefits, it should always be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. The dosage and duration of treatment may vary depending on the specific condition being treated.
Controversies and Criticisms
Despite its FDA approval for certain uses, Ivermectin has faced controversies and criticisms regarding its off-label use for treating COVID-19. The FDA and other health organizations have issued warnings against using Ivermectin for COVID-19, citing insufficient evidence and potential risks.
One of the main criticisms is the lack of large-scale clinical trials proving the effectiveness of Ivermectin in treating COVID-19. While some studies have shown positive results, many experts argue that these studies have limitations, such as small sample sizes and methodological flaws.
Another concern is the potential for misuse and self-medication. Ivermectin is primarily used as an antiparasitic drug for animals, and there have been reports of people taking veterinary formulations of Ivermectin intended for livestock. This can lead to harmful side effects and even overdose.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently do not recommend the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 outside of clinical trials. They emphasize the importance of relying on proven treatments and vaccines, such as antiviral drugs and COVID-19 vaccines.
In conclusion, while Ivermectin has been FDA approved for certain uses, its off-label use for treating COVID-19 remains controversial and criticized due to insufficient evidence, potential risks, and the lack of official recommendations from reputable health organizations.
Current Use and Availability
Ivermectin is currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of certain parasitic infections in humans. However, it is important to note that the FDA has not approved its use for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Despite this, there has been significant interest in the use of ivermectin for COVID-19, particularly in countries where it is readily available over-the-counter. Some healthcare providers have prescribed it off-label for COVID-19 patients, citing anecdotal evidence and limited studies suggesting potential benefits.
It is important to approach the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 with caution. The FDA and other health authorities have warned against its use outside of approved indications, as studies on its effectiveness and safety in treating COVID-19 are still ongoing.
|Over-the-counter||No||Yes (in some countries)|
In the United States, ivermectin is only available with a prescription. It is typically prescribed for the treatment of certain parasitic infections, such as onchocerciasis and strongyloidiasis. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before considering the use of ivermectin for any condition, including COVID-19.
In other countries, the availability of ivermectin may vary. Some countries may allow over-the-counter sales of ivermectin, making it more easily accessible. However, it is still important to consult with a healthcare provider and follow official guidelines before using ivermectin for any purpose.