Ivermectin is a potent anthelmintic preparation that can help to get rid of parasite infections caused by roundworms. This medication has been successfully applied in clinical practice for almost 40 years. The discovery of the preparation happened in 1975. Six years later, it was approved for medical use. Now Ivermectin is on the List of Essential Medicines of the World’s Health Organization. The drug is available for purchase as a brand drug and as a generic medication. Therefore, people can get the needed treatment regardless of the level of their income.
Ivermectin is difficult to overestimate as this medication saves people from several devastating diseases. It’s not surprising then that some people, including scientists, call it a ‘Wonder drug’. This preparation is safe, effective, and versatile, which makes it a strong agent in fighting roundworm infections.
The reason why Ivermectin is so effective in the therapy of diseases provoked by roundworms is that it contains ivermectin as an active component. This substance affects parasitic cells’ nervous system causing muscle paralysis in them.
The preparation is applied mainly in individuals infected with certain types of roundworms. The diseases against which it shows to be effective are:
Ivermectin also works well for the prevention of malaria. The medication can protect from both Plasmodium and malaria-bearing mosquitos. There’s also certain evidence of Ivermectin efficacy in the therapy of rosacea. However, the medication hasn’t got and FDA approval for the treatment of this disease.
The latest research claim ivermectin use to be beneficial in the treatment of the pandemic virus that covered the world in 2019.
Brand Ivermectin is only available in the 3 mg dosage strength. Its generic can be purchased either in 3 mg or 6 mg dosages.
The duration of the therapy, as well as the required dose of the medication, is determined relying on the disease to be treated, its severity, and the patient’s body weight. The tablet should be administered an hour before a meal. Wash it down with a full glass of water. Don’t use any other drinks for this purpose.
Usually, Ivermectin is applied as a single-dose treatment. In the cases where the patient’s immune system is weak, the drug administration can be repeated several months later. In rare situations, the medication may be recommended to be taken on a regular basis. Let’s get down into some detail about the general recommendations for the Ivermectin dosing regimen.
For curing strongyloidiasis, a patient should take Ivermectin only once. The dose required for killing the roundworm responsible for the symptoms of this disease is calculated based on the weight of the patient. People should take from 1 to 5 tablets of Ivermectin 3mg to cope with the parasites and get rid of the ailment.
To treat onchocerciasis, a person should take the dose of Ivermectin corresponding 150 mcg per kg of the body weight. Unlike strogyloidiasis, onchocerciasis needs Ivermectin dose to be repeated in 3 or 12 months.
The symptoms of the diseases treated with Ivermectin appear proportionally to the number of roundworms present in the organism. In some cases, such as onchocerciasis, the preparation can kill only small roundworms. Adult parasites are not affected by the preparation. Therefore, taking Ivermectin, you can only suppress the activity of the parasites and ease the symptoms of the disease.
When Ivermectin is prescribed, a person may be hospitalized for 3 – 4 days. It is needed to control the health condition of the patient, which may get worse after taking the tablets.
To determine whether the therapy with Ivermectin was effective, passing a fecal analysis is required.
Overall, there are not many Ivermectin precautions. The medication tends to be quite safe when it comes to its effect on the human body. However, there are exceptional cases when Ivermectin treatment can be not only dangerous but even fatal. Therefore, it’s crucial to tell your attending doctor about everything that may play a role in the safety of the therapy.
First of all, you should mention if you have any problems with the liver or kidneys. Concomitant infection with African trypanosomiasis or Loa loa can make administering of Ivermectin tablets potentially life-threatening. Therefore, you’d better tell your doctor if you’ve recently visited Africa, its western and central parts in particular.
A weakened immunity can influence the efficiency of the drug. Please, let your doctor know if you suffer from HIV/AIDS or cancer as both diseases significantly reduce your immune system strength making it more vulnerable to infections.
Ivermectin side effects can make you feel dizzy. Alcohol and drugs, including marijuana, can exacerbate this condition. Avoid their concomitant use or at least minimize the amounts of alcohol you drink to minimize the risks for adverse reactions. Stay away from driving a car or operating machinery when under the effects of ivermectin.
Pregnant women may take Ivermectin only when the potential benefits for the mother prevail on the risks for the fetus.
The safety of administering the drug during lactation is still unclear though it is known for sure that ivermectin is excreted into breast milk. Therefore, it’s up to a doctor to decide whether to prescribe it or not.
The success and the safety of your treatment with Ivermectin may depend not only on the dose used, and its correct intake but also on other medications you administer. Some medications interacting with ivermectin can possibly become dangerous. To avoid any risks for your health, you should tell your healthcare provider about the prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal products you use either orally or topically.
Ivermectin may interact with the following preparations:
Don’t use these medicines until the effect of ivermectin is over.
When prescribing any medication, a doctor is obliged to weigh the potential benefits and the possible risks of the treatment. In case the risks prevail, the drug is contraindicated to such patients. Speaking about Ivermectin interactions, they are as follows:
hypersensitivity to ivermectin or to any other component of the preparation;
severe renal or hepatic impairment;
age under five years old;
body weight under 33 pounds (15 kg).
The insidiousness of Ivermectin treatment lies in the fact that not only the medication itself can trigger adverse effects but also the parasites killed by the drug can become a reason for some severe unwanted reactions.
The reactions to the drug most often reported by its users are listed below:
Patients administering Ivermectin for onchocerciasis are also at high risk of developing Mazzotti reaction. It is caused not by the medication but by the parasites dying of it. Its symptoms include fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, urticaria, low blood pressure, racing heartbeat, abdominal pain. This reaction can grow into a life-threatening situation. Therefore, experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, call an emergency room, or go to the nearest clinic. Such symptoms may last for about four days. This time is needed for your body to clear out the dead parasites.
Severe adverse reactions to Ivermectin are rare. They may manifest through musculoskeletal pain, swelling of the upper and lower extremities and face, blurred vision, keratitis, conjunctivitis, low leukocyte count, elevated liver enzymes, etc.