A couple of days ago, Rolling Stone published an article claiming that Oklahoma Hospitals were overwhelmed by ‘Horse Dewormer’ overdoses. The drug they are referring to is Ivermectin. It turns out that their article was totally false.
Rolling Stone offered a stealth update instead of informing the public that their viral article was fake. The article now has an update that mentions, “[The hospital] has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin.” The article's title still claims these non-existent complications overran it.
The importance: This is the latest example of journalists politicizing potentially effective ways to treat COVID.
There are two different types: There is ivermectin for people and ivermectin for animals. Ivermectin for people is FDA approved to treat parasitic diseases. It’s also been in medical use since 1981, and the scientists who discovered it even won a Nobel Prize for it. It’s been historically referred to as a ‘Wonder drug’ by the scientific community.
There is also Ivermectin for animals. It differs in concentration and quality.
The current discussion revolves around the FDA-approved Ivermectin that doctors frequently prescribe, but journalists and the media pretend it’s about ‘horse medicine.’
Safety concerns: From a medical article written in 2011, “Ivermectin has continually proved to be astonishingly safe for human use. Indeed, it is such a safe drug, with minimal side effects, that it can be administered by non-medical staff and even illiterate individuals in remote rural communities, provided that they have had some very basic, appropriate training.” Millions of people use it every year to safely treat historically deadly diseases.
There are many individuals in the scientific community that believe Ivermectin can be used to treat COVID successfully. There are even more that believe the opposite.
Ivermectin’s efficacy for COVID: A peer-reviewed meta-analysis from June found that “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin.” A website that tracks all studies about Ivermectin found that early treatment with Ivermectin corresponds with a 70% improvement in health out of the peer-reviewed studies.
Controversy: Pundits and journalists have been quick to criticize specific studies and ethical concerns. One critique questioned a study whose research team was connected to pro-ivermectin organizations. Those who refute these concerns mention the ethical concerns and corruption involved with the FDA approval process: Ivermectin studies have a “much lower conflict of interest than typically used to approve drugs.”
Doctors are prescribing it: Across the United States, doctors who believe in Ivermectin for COVID are prescribing it off-label to their patients. As mentioned earlier, prescription-grade ivermectin has been known to be “astonishingly safe.” Off-label prescriptions are legal and common. More than one-fifth of outpatient prescriptions are off-label.
However, the AMA (American Medical Association) has asked doctors to "stay on the side of science" and stop prescribing Ivermectin.
The pandemic has shown that science is frequently politicized. Facebook, Google, and YouTube spent the past year deciding which science is allowed to be seen. This is just another wave of the same.