Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of dosage used in the study.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The final verdict from a study is in: Ivermectin is not an effective COVID-19 treatment after all, doctors say.
The study led by Duke researchers found no differences in relieving mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms between patients taking the drug and those taking a placebo.
Dr. Adrian Hernandez, the executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and the leader of the study, said Monday that there was “no significant benefit” in taking the polarizing horse-deworming drug to treat mild to moderate symptoms.
“Overall, most people improved their symptoms whether they took ivermectin or not,” Hernandez said. “Given these results, there does not appear to be a role for ivermectin outside of a clinical trial setting, especially considering other available options with proven reduction in hospitalizations and death.”
The study included nearly 1,600 COVID patients, with slightly more than half taking ivermectin and slightly less receiving a placebo.
The conclusion: Taking a dose of 400 micrograms per kilogram of body weight for three days “resulted in less than one day of shortening of symptoms.” Researchers also found no difference in the number of people admitted to hospitals or visiting emergency rooms.
Results of the study were published Monday on medRxiv, a pre-publication server, and have been submitted for peer review.
They mirror the findings from another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March that found ivermectin doesn’t reduce the risk of hospitalization.
Hernandez says another arm of the study is testing the effectiveness of a 50 percent higher dose of ivermectin — 600 milligrams for every kilogram — “and if we see something there, we certainly will report that result, good or bad.”
Hernandez led the national study that sought to prove or disprove once and for all whether the anti-parasitic drug used in other dose sizes to deworm horses has a role in the treatment of COVID-19.
The drug has become popular among some conspiracy-minded vaccine opponents who believe it is a COVID cure, with some taking veterinary-strength doses of the drug. Podcaster Joe Rogan has said he used it to treat his COVID infection.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has received reports of people self-medicating with ivermectin later needing medical attention or hospitalization.
It’s why the FDA has warned people not to take it, even going so far as to post a tweet last summer telling people that “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
The study also looked at two other common drugs — the antidepressant fluvoxamine, and fluticasone furoate, an inhalant typically given to asthma patients with problems breathing. Hernandez says results from the fluticasone trial should be released soon while enrollment for the trial of fluvoxamine also has been completed with results expected “in the coming weeks.”
CBS 17’s Joedy McCreary has been tracking COVID-19 figures since March 2020, compiling data from federal, state, and local sources to deliver a clear snapshot of what the coronavirus situation looks like now and what it could look like in the future.