Ivermectin (Stromectol), a common antiparasitic prescription medication, has recently been in the news as a possible treatment option for COVID-19.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions asked about ivermectin.
What is the brand name?
Ivermectin is a generic prescription medication. The brand-name version is called Stromectol.
(If you’d like to learn more about the similarities and differences between brand-name and generic drugs, you can read our blog post on the topic here).
Is ivermectin an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, or antiparasitic medication?
All four of these describe different classes of medications.
- Antibacterial drugs fight bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, chlamydia, and strep throat;
- Antifungal drugs fight fungal infections such as yeast infections and athlete’s foot;
- Antiviral drugs fight viruses such as herpes and the flu;
- Antiparasitic drugs fight parasites such as roundworms.
Ivermectin is considered an antiparasitic medication, primarily used for the treatment of roundworm, scabies, head lice, and pubic lice. However, some preliminary studies are potentially demonstrating antiviral effects against COVID-19 in cell cultures. As we discussed in a prior article, the government’s COVID-19 Treatment Guideline Panel currently does not recommend the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical trial setting.
Is ivermectin available over-the-counter without a prescription?
No, it is not. Ivermectin is considered a prescription medication in the United States. So, you must have a valid prescription from a certified U.S. doctor in order to access ivermectin.
What is the correct dosing for ivermectin for covid treatment?
It is important to note that although this medication is FDA approved, it has not been approved for use as a COVID-19 treatment. Also, keep in mind that the dosing recommendations may change as more research advances.
While no set guidelines have been approved by the FDA, the following protocols are based on the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance. As a preventative measure for high-risk individuals, the recommended dose is 0.2mg/kg in this order:
- One dose on day 1 and day 3
- One dose weekly for 10 weeks
- One dose every 2 weeks after that
As treatment after COVID-19 exposure, the recommended dose is just 0.2mg/kg, with one dose on day 1 and day 3.
Does it come as a cream?
Yes, ivermectin is available in both oral and topical solutions. However, only ivermectin taken orally has been studied as a treatment for COVID-19.
How much does it cost?
The cost of Ivermectin varies depending on whether or not you are using insurance. The out-of-pocket cost of ivermectin (i.e. the cost if you do not use insurance) is approximately $80, depending on strength and dosage.
Is there a drug shortage?
There is not currently a shortage of ivermectin. That being said, other drugs that were considered a potential COVID-19 treatment did, at some point, experience a shortage.
For example, when hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) was in the news as a potential treatment, people panic-bought and hoarded the medication, creating a momentary shortage.
Just like we did with hydroxychloroquine, Honeybee Health is taking steps as a pharmacy to ensure we do not run out of ivermectin, and that those who have a valid prescription are able to access the medication without problems.
If you’d like to learn more about the connection between the novel coronavirus and this drug, you can also check out our previous article on the topic here.