The American pharmaceutical company MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme), one of the largest in the world and manufacturer of ivermectin, published on Thursday (4) a release with a warning against the indiscriminate use of vermifuge in the fight against Covid-19.

The statement says its scientists are analyzing all scientific studies conducted around the world on the effectiveness of the drug against coronavirus. However, the company identified that:

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  • There is no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 in preclinical studies;
  • There is no significant evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19 and;
  • There is a worrying lack of safety data in most studies

Even without in-depth studies on the topic, the medication became part of the so-called “Covid kit“, The cocktail of medicines used mainly as“early treatment”Recommended by the Ministry of Health, even with proven ineffectiveness.

The statement follows with recommendations for the use of ivermectin against strongyloidiasis and against onchocerciasis, both parasitic infections. Even with these known and established uses, there are still possible adverse reactions.

In the case of strongyloidiasis, MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme) reports adverse reactions “possibly, probably or definitely” caused by Stromectol (the name by which the company markets ivermectin) such as asthenia / fatigue, abdominal pain, anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, dizziness, tremors, itching, rashes and hives. In the fight against onchocerciasis, hypersensitivity reactions, abdominal pain, enlarged lymph nodes were observed, especially in the cervical, axillary and inguinal regions, in addition to a series of ophthalmic effects.

Ivermectin is a sales success

Even with no evidence of efficacy against coronavirus, sales of ivermectin were successful in 2020 last year. According to data from IQVA, the sale of the product on the market pharmaceutical exploded from January to November 2020, growing 466% over the same period in 2019.

The data show that around 42,3 million boxes of antiparasitic were sold last year. The peak in purchases was observed in July, when more than 12 million acquisitions of invermectin were added.

Via health insurance, the recommended medicine for head lice has doubled. According to healh tech ePharma, the southeast was the region with the greatest increase in product (120%), accounting for 72% of national purchases from January to November last year. The Northeast registered an increase of 104%.