In the treatment of COVID-19, ivermectin use is associated with decreased mortality compared to remdesivir use, according to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Researchers at the University of Miami retrospectively analyzed a national federated database of adults aged 18 and older with a recorded COVID-19 infection between January 2020 and July 2021.
They compared those who used ivermectin but not remdesivir with those who used remdesivir but not ivermectin.
Variables that may have affected COVID-19 survival outcomes were controlled, including “age, gender, race, ethnicity, nicotine use, diabetes mellitus, obesity, chronic lower respiratory disease, ischemic heart diseases, tocilizumab, glucocorticoids, or ventilator use.”
“After using propensity score matching and adjusting for potential confounders, ivermectin was associated with reduced mortality vs remdesivir,” researchers wrote. “To our knowledge, this is the largest association study of patients with COVID-19, mortality, and ivermectin.”
The risk difference was reported at negative 5.224 percent with a confidence interval between negative 7.079 percent and negative 3.369 percent, with a p-value of less than 0.0001, which suggests that the outcome is statistically significant.
Out of 1,761,060 possible COVID-19 patients in the database, researchers deduced two unique cohorts of COVID-19 patients, of whom 1,072 were treated with ivermectin and 40,536 were treated with remdesivir.
Before controlling the variables, the ivermectin cohort had an average age of 51.9 plus or minus 17.8 years, while the remdesivir cohort had an average age of 62 plus or minus 16 years. In the ivermectin cohort, 60 percent were on glucocorticoids and 1 percent needed ventilator support, compared to 64 percent on glucocorticoids and 2 percent needing ventilator support in the remdesivir cohort.
“Further double-blinded placebo-controlled RCTs with large samples are required for definite conclusion,” researchers wrote. “In the future, if more publications are published with the similar result to the current analyses, the certainty of evidence will increase.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) features ivermectin on its List of Essential Medicines. It’s also approved as an antiparasitic agent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA hasn’t approved the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans. According to the FDA, taking large doses of ivermectin can be dangerous. Side effects of ivermectin include skin rashes, nausea, and vomiting.
Remdesivir is authorized for emergency use by the FDA to treat COVID-19 for both hospitalized patients and outpatients. According to the FDA, some adverse events associated with remdesivir include allergic reactions, generalized seizures, and rashes. In late 2020, the WHO recommended against the use of remdesivir for COVID-19. Remdesivir has been linked to kidney disease, gastrointestinal symptoms, and other severe side effects, according to some researchers.
Ivermectin has been praised by some doctors as a life-saving early treatment for COVID-19. At least two groups, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group, have been advocating for the off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 in its early stages. As of March 8, there are at least 151 studies—of which 103 are peer-reviewed—on the treatment of COVID-19 with ivermectin.
The American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists said in a joint statement in September 2021 that they were against its use to treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.