The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for the "immediate end" to the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, and for doctors to stop prescribing it for that purpose, amid a spike in the use of the drug.
Ivermectin, often used as a deworming agent in animals and sometimes for humans, is not approved to treat COVID-19 and has not been shown to work for that purpose. Poison control centers have recorded a five-fold increase in calls related to ivermectin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The AMA, the country's largest doctors group, is now joining in warning against use of the drug, joining the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.
"We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months," the AMA said in a statement, joined by the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. "As such, we are calling for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial."
The groups also call on doctors and pharmacists to warn patients about using the drug to treat COVID-19.
"Use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be harmful to patients," the groups said. "Calls to poison control centers due to ivermectin ingestion have increased five-fold from their pre-pandemic baseline."
Experts say that instead of risking the use of unproven drugs, people should get vaccinated.