If rat poison and mold can save lives, why not a 'horse de-wormer'?

Much has been written about ivermectin lately — most of it untrue.  People are mocking the use of a "horse-dewormer" in the treatment of COVID.  Outlets like Rolling Stone and CNN take great pleasure in ridiculing its use.  They have printed and promulgated a false story about overdosed ivermectin users in Oklahoma clogging emergency room admissions.  Any sane person not associated with left-wing politics and journalism has to wonder why all this negative passion is directed toward a medication with a high degree of anecdotal success as a treatment for COVID.

Off-label use of prescription medications has been going on for as long as prescriptions have been written.  If a drug has been declared safe by the FDA, it may legally be used and prescribed for medical conditions for which it was not originally intended.  Testing of drugs has been stringent since the thalidomide disaster of the late '50s and early '60s when a drug administered to prevent nausea in pregnant women was discovered to cause the birth of malformed infants.  These unfortunate babies were born with flipper-like appendages instead of normal limbs.

Following this debacle, the FDA and other agencies throughout the world became much more strenuous in testing for undesirable side-effects.  Health officials have been rightly obsessed with preventing a similar medical disaster.  Testing periods have been, in almost all cases, lengthened before a drug is deemed safe.  The rapid development of the COVID vaccines is a notable exception.

The particular objection to the use of ivermectin is that it is widely perceived to be a medication for animals, particularly horses.  The fact is that this medication was approved for use in humans in 1996 for various parasitic infections, so in proper dosages, it has been tested for human consumption.

Lest we forget or be foolishly outraged at the use in humans of medications originally used in animals, virtually all medications that we consume were originally tested in animals.  Many animal rights activists continue to fight the use of laboratory animals in the testing of medicines, as well as their more properly focused outrage at the use of these animals for testing cosmetics and other substances.

It is also a fact that accidents and unlikely discoveries have greatly changed health care.  A bit of mold, carelessly allowed to drift into one of Scottish physician Alexander Fleming's Petri dishes containing staphylococcus bacteria, gave us penicillin, which has saved millions of lives.  Warfarin, a rat poison, became Coumadin, an anti-coagulant that has also saved countless lives by preventing blood clots.  I can only assume that the use of these two life-saving medications would have been similarly scoffed at as nothing but unproven, anecdotal "snake oil" remedies by the same folks criticizing ivermectin.  I might also mention viagra, originally intended as a blood-pressure medication rather than as a medication whose uplifting effect on our culture is well known.

So why the furor over ivermectin?  If rat poison and mold can save lives, why not a "horse-dewormer"?

There is no doubt in my mind that, like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin has been harshly criticized by the left because Donald Trump supported its use.  To those folks, if Trump says black, they say white, even if the subject is India ink.  This foolish and obstinate opposition has likely caused many unnecessary deaths.

Let's ensure that patients who wish to use this medication are allowed to.  Let's be certain they are given a proper human dosage rather than being forced to self-administer horse dosages because they get no help from organized medicine.  Let's end the foolish foot-dragging over something that might help end this nightmare for good.

Image: herrenvonbuttlar via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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