Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19— friend or foe?
The global number of deaths due to COVID-19 is almost at the two million mark, with over 35 000 deaths in South Africa. Although there are hopes of a safe and effective vaccination programme, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country is putting a significant strain on the healthcare system. Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, has been widely published on social media platforms and news outlets as a so-called miracle drug for the treatment of COVID-19. Ivermectin is not registered in SA as a drug for human use, but rather as a veterinary and agricultural product. Currently, from a small number of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), there does seem to be a signal of evidence for the use of ivermectin in the management of COVID-19. Pharmacists must, however, remain cognisant of their ethical responsibilities as well as the applicable regulations that prohibit the procurement and dispensing of any unregistered medicine.