Palace urges public to wait for FDA study on ivermectin; expert warns of brain damage, death if excessive use
Malacanang advised the public on Tuesday to wait for the study of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the possibility of using ivermectin to patients with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This as Edsel Salvana, an infectiouss disease specialist and molecular biologist, warned that high dosage of ivermectin could cause brain damage and even death of an individual using it.
"Ivermectin is registered but not for human use.It's for different purpose, not for COVID," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a televised press briefing.
He said that Ivermectin is being used on animals.
"But for COVID-19, we don't have data yet showing that it is effective, although there's an applicant for compassionate use," Roque said.
But he appealed to the public, "let's wait because the FDA will immediately decide on that. It won't take long. And this is for our interest also because there is a need to prove that it is effective and this drug is safe for those who have COVID-19."
Some groups, including AnaKalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor, have been pushing for the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients.
Asked if Defensor and other congressmen who were reportedly distribution ivermectin will be held liable, Roque said, "I will not give a legal advice on something that I am not engaged professionally."
But Roque said it is important to stress that the FDA is the one giving approval if a drug is safe and effective.
In the same press briefing, Salvana admitted that he used ivermectin to deworm his patients.
But he said the manufacturer of ivermectin did not renew its registration in the country in 2018.
"That's why the FDA is now checking its oral formulations. But my only caution to my patients who used ivermectin for deworming, the dose of ivermectin for deworming is about 3 to 15 milligrams only," he said.
"Those saying that (ivermectin) be used against the virus, there's really no evidence as of now. The dose is high, because they used 15 milligrams and then repeated dosing. In such high dose, there's a possibility of a person having a brain damage or can even die if becomes overdose," Salvana explained.
He said that it is better to wait first for the studies being conducted by authorities on ivermectin to determine if "the benefit is worth the risk, especially if the dose is too high." Celerina Monte/DMS