A study of COVID-19 patients in Malaysia treated with ivermectin found that they were no less likely to become seriously ill than people receiving standard treatment.
The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association.
The authors concluded: “In this randomized clinical trial in high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, ivermectin treatment during early disease did not prevent progression to severe disease. The results of the study do not support the use of ivermectin in patients with COVID-19.”
The study involved 490 patients with early to moderate COVID-19 in 20 public hospitals and a COVID-19 quarantine center in Malaysia. It took place between May 31 and October 25, 2021.
All patients were 50 years of age or older and had at least one chronic medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
About half received ivermectin plus the standard treatment for COVID-19 patients. The others – the control group – received only the standard treatment. Doctors tracked how many developed into severe COVID-19 disease and how many developed additional problems, such as the need for intensive care or a respirator.
The study showed that 52 out of 241 patients in the ivermecting group and 43 out of 249 patients in the control group developed serious illness.
Among the other findings:
– 4 patients in the ivermecting group vs. 10 patients in the control group needed a ventilator;
– 6 patients in the ivermecting group versus 8 in the control group needed intensive care;
– 3 patients in the ivermecting group against 10 in the control group died;
Doctors said it would have required a 50% reduction in the number of patients who became seriously ill, or a 9% difference in results between the two groups, to prove that ivermectin was beneficial.
Ivermectin, which is successfully used to treat parasitic infections in humans, is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19, where the most credible studies to date show no benefit.
Nevertheless, it is commonly prescribed for the treatment of COVID-19 and is especially popular with people who are skeptical about the benefits of approved treatments and COVID-19 vaccine, which the vast majority of doctors consider a well-proven, highly effective way to prevent serious illness and death due to COVID-19.
The authors of the Malaysian study noted that ivermectin is cheap, widely available and easy to give.
A Pennsylvania State House committee recently approved a bill that would make it easier for doctors to prescribe ivermectin and other “off-label” medications to prevent or treat COVID-19. But the bill has not received a vote from the full house, and a Senate version sits on the committee.