Have you been prescribed Ivermectin for treatment of a parasitic infection? Here’s what you need to know about Ivermectin safety.
If you’ve ever had a bad case of scabies or other parasitic infection, your doctor may have written a prescription for a medication known as ivermectin. Ivermectin is a prescription drug commonly used to treat mites, worms, and some types of lice. It’s also used to treat a condition known as onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness. If this medication was prescribed for you, it’s wise to be aware of any potential ivermectin side effects you could experience. Here’s what you need to know about ivermectin safety.
One of the primary concerns regarding ivermectin safety is the issue of how it affects the nervous system. There’s the potential for this drug to cause a variety of neurological side effects if it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Fortunately, studies have shown that only very small amounts reach the brain and central nervous system meaning that neurological side effects are generally not experienced. The exception to this would be in children who weight under thirty-three pounds. With children this small, the blood-brain barrier may not be completely developed, increasing the risk of ivermectin toxicity which could cause depression of the central nervous system. For this reason, ivermectin should never be given to a child under thirty-three pounds and shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or lactation.
Regarding the issue of ivermectin safety, a previous study showed that nursing home residents who were treated for scabies with ivermectin had a higher overall death rate. In response to this, a Japanese trial was carried out to more closely assess ivermectin safety in the elderly. Fortunately, these results weren’t confirmed and it was shown to be safe in older people. Several more recent trials have shown ivermectin to be safe in adults, even those over the age of sixty-five.
What are common ivermectin side effects you could experience? Some people taking ivermectin experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Central nervous system symptoms occur in around two percent of users and can include dizziness, sleepiness, and tremor. Some patients also report fever, rash, and joint pain which is thought to be related to clearing of the parasites rather than ivermectin toxicity.
What’s the bottom line regarding ivermectin safety? It appears to be a medication with a good safety profile for use in older children and non-pregnant adults. It should be used with caution and close monitoring in those over the age of sixty-five, although the most recent studies seem to confirm ivermectin safety for the older population. Even though it doesn’t appear to interact with other drugs, be sure to tell you doctor if you’re taking any other medications even herbal and nutritional supplements.