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Experts warn of possible brain, liver, kidney damage, even death from ivermectin

Two experts on Tuesday warned of the possible dangers from ivermectin following calls for health authorities to authorize the antiparasitic drug's use on COVID-19 cases.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana said a high dose of ivermectin could lead to brain damage or even death.

“‘Yung sinasabi po na gamitin para sa virus na wala naman talagang ebidensya sa ngayon, mataas po ‘yung dose kasi they use 15 milligrams tapos repeated dosing po,” he said in a Palace briefing.

(What is being claimed as a virus treatment, which lacks evidence at present, is a high dosage of 15 milligrams and repeated dosing.)

“Sa ganyang mataas na dose po, pwede pong magkaroon ng brain damage ang isang tao at pwedeng mamatay kung ma-overdose nang todo todo assuming po na tama ‘yung gamot na nakuha nila,” he added.

(At such a high dosage, it is possible to get brain damage or die from overdosing, assuming they are using the right medicine.)

Salvana said he only recommends ivermectin for patients who were struggling with worms since it was a potent drug for that purpose.

At a separate Department of Health (DOH) briefing, Dr. Rontgene Solante, also an infectious disease expert, said there were still no extensive studies on the safety of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients.

“We don’t recommend these drugs for patients with COVID. Merong mga (It has) detrimental effects ‘yan, side effects na hindi pa natin alam (that we don’t know yet) that can also damage your liver or kidneys,” he said.

“‘Wag nating i-alinlangan ang buhay natin just because of a drug na we believe na merong effect na until now hindi pa natin nakikita sa mga clinical trial,” Solante urged.

(Let’s not risk our lives just because of a drug that we believe will have an effect that, until now, has not been proven in clinical trials.)

The DOH, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and World Health Organization have all discouraged the use of ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.

FDA chief Eric Domingo said the distribution of human-grade ivermectin is only legal if prescribed by a doctor and compounded by a licensed pharmacy.

The FDA had received an application for compassionate use of the antiparasitic drug.  — DVM, GMA News