Ivermectin Side Effects
For every small or big illness in this world, there is a treatment or way of resolution that makes it all better. People have been prescribed these medications in a controlled and specific manner so that the road to their recovery takes place effectively.
One such drug is Ivermectin, which is popularly used for treating parasitic infections such as head lice infestations, onchocerciasis (river blindness), strongyloidiasis (threadworm disease), and others. It is a drug that has been found to have therapeutic effects on people who might be suffering from these conditions. (1) (2)
Although Ivermectin has been around for the treatment of various skin infestations and intestinal parasitic infections for a very long time, it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world that it suddenly started gaining immense popularity due to some studies showing in vitro activity against the virus.
However, like every other medicine, Ivermectin also possesses some side effects, which often might raise questions about its usage and effectiveness in the long term. Such side effects will be explored in the proceeding sections.
How Does Ivermectin Work?
Ivermectin is a semi-synthetic drug. It is derived from ‘avermectins,’ which are considered to be highly-active and broad-spectrum antiparasitic agents. The avermectins are isolated from the fermentation of the bacterium Streptomyces avermitilis. (3)
Ivermectin works by preventing a chemical in the parasite’s muscles from functioning. The parasites are immobilized and die as a result. (4)
Dosages Of Ivermectin
Ivermectin is usually recommended to be taken as a single dose. Usual dosages range from 150-200 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, depending on the underlying condition to treat. Each oral tablet of Ivermectin is found to contain approximately 3 milligrams of its chemical composition. (5)
Side Effects Of Ivermectin
Since Ivermectin is a drug that is usually prescribed under conditions of infestations and infections, it is often seen to be safely used in the affected people.
However, most of the problems arose when the drug was repeatedly used for the prevention of COVID-19 infection during the times of pandemic. (6)
Due to the results of several studies, Ivermectin got more public attention, which led to people experiencing side effects, despite that studies were inconclusive or low-quality.
However, in a general sense, Ivermectin is seen to be well-tolerated and without significant side effects.
In rare circumstances, people might experience some temporary side effects, including:
Skin Adversities and Allergic Reactions
Taking accidental high dosages of Ivermectin may lead to the development of certain skin-related side effects. These side effects might include rash, hives, and edema in the affected patient. This is especially relevant when Ivermectin is used to treat onchocerciasis, in which the mentioned reactions appear due to young worms dying.
Other symptoms that might develop in patients with these skin-related side effects are only because of the presence of these primary ‘allergic’ effects. (7)
Nervous System Problems
Although Ivermectin has been very much promoted and declared safe for usage by people with several infections and infestations, it is best to have this drug prescribed by a physician or dermatologist. There is evidence that Ivermectin can cause major neurological side effects, especially in people with meningitis or certain genetic polymorphisms (8).
While neurological adverse effects of Ivermectin are possible, they are very rare when the medication is administered correctly and as prescribed by a healthcare expert.
Although very rare, some people were also seen to develop side effects involving vision, such as blurring of the vision, red eyes, and excessive lacrimation. (9)
Other Common Side Effects
Apart from the serious side effects of Ivermectin, this drug was also seen to cause common problems in some individuals. These side effects involved (10):
Loss of appetite;
- Decreased focus;
- Loss of energy;
However, most of these side effects are short-term. A double-blinded study was used to examine the side effects of a regular dose versus a high dose of Ivermectin. They reported that itching, edematous swellings, rash, and fever were the most common side effects of ivermectin treatment. (11)
To avoid such mishaps and unfortunate events from taking place, it is best if Ivermectin is only taken within the specified doses and at the times recommended by doctors. In this way, it would be the safest practice while avoiding any harmful or serious side effects from taking over.
Ivermectin is indeed a helpful drug that can treat several infections and infestations and, thus, help people lead a safe and healthy life.
How Much Ivermectin Is Safe For Me To Use?
Depending on your body weight, your doctor will calculate the dosage that is the most appropriate for you while at the same time being the safest. (12)
Is Ivermectin Only Available as an Oral Tablet?
Ivermectin is available in two forms: as an oral tablet and a topical lotion. Depending upon what skin condition or infection you are suffering from, your doctor will prescribe you the appropriate form of Ivermectin to use.
For What Conditions is Ivermectin Used?
Ivermectin is commonly used for several tropical infections. It is also used to treat certain parasitic infections or infestations, such as strongyloidiasis, enterobiasis, trichuriasis, scabies, and head lice. (13)
Is Ivermectin an Antibiotic?
Ivermectin is neither an antibiotic nor a steroid medication. It is simply an antihelminthic drug that is used for treating parasitic infections and infestations. An anthelmintic is a medicine that is used to treat parasitic worm infections in animals.
Can Ivermectin Harm My Liver or Kidneys?
Usually, the prescribed duration of Ivermectin is short enough not to exert any harmful effects on any of the body's organs. However, even in the long term, Ivermectin was not found to impact the kidneys (14). On the contrary, Ivermectin may cause an increase in liver enzymes in some people.