Podcast 648: Ivermectin for COVID-19 - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 648: Ivermectin for COVID-19

Contributor:  Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Ivermectin is an antiparasitic medication that has been used for a long time, but has sparked new interest in the past year as a potential treatment for COVID-19
  • In-vitro studies have shown it decreases how quickly COVID replicates and may make it less likely to adhere to cells
  • Observational studies have found lower rates of COVID-19 infections in areas that provide ivermectin prophylaxis
  • In several studies it was shown that it decreased severity and mortality, though there were significant methodological limitations
  • NIH gave a statement saying there is not enough evidence to support or refute based on current trials and larger more rigorous trials are needed


Caly L, Druce JD, Catton MG, Jans DA, Wagstaff KM. The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Antiviral Res. 2020 Jun;178:104787. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104787. Epub 2020 Apr 3. PMID: 32251768; PMCID: PMC7129059.

Hellwig MD, Maia A. A COVID-19 prophylaxis? Lower incidence associated with prophylactic administration of ivermectin. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2021 Jan;57(1):106248. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106248. Epub 2020 Nov 28. PMID: 33259913; PMCID: PMC7698683.

Rajter JC, Sherman MS, Fatteh N, Vogel F, Sacks J, Rajter JJ. Use of Ivermectin Is Associated With Lower Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With Coronavirus Disease 2019: The Ivermectin in COVID Nineteen Study. Chest. 2021 Jan;159(1):85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.10.009. Epub 2020 Oct 13. PMID: 33065103; PMCID: PMC7550891.

Chaccour C, Casellas A, Blanco-Di Matteo A, Pineda I, Fernandez-Montero A, Ruiz-Castillo P, Richardson MA, Rodríguez-Mateos M, Jordán-Iborra C, Brew J, Carmona-Torre F, Giráldez M, Laso E, Gabaldón-Figueira JC, Dobaño C, Moncunill G, Yuste JR, Del Pozo JL, Rabinovich NR, Schöning V, Hammann F, Reina G, Sadaba B, Fernández-Alonso M. The effect of early treatment with ivermectin on viral load, symptoms and humoral response in patients with non-severe COVID-19: A pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. EClinicalMedicine. 2021 Feb;32:100720. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100720. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMID: 33495752; PMCID: PMC7816625.

Summarized by John Spartz, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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