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Massachusetts Medical Society




As the Covid-19 pandemic wears on, patients have asked courts to compel hospitals to administer unproven therapies, with mixed legal results. Although talk radio hosts, politicians, and social media users have promoted various treatment approaches, they have given particular attention to ivermectin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ivermectin for use in humans for treating onchocerciasis (river blindness), intestinal strongyloidiasis, certain other parasitic worms, head lice, and skin conditions such as rosacea. Although this approval facilitates legal offlabel use for prophylaxis against or treatment of other conditions, both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cautioned against using ivermectin for Covid-19, citing adverse gastrointestinal and neurologic effects. In addition, a Cochrane review concluded that “overall, the reliable evidence available does not support the use of ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 outside of well-designed randomized trials.”


From The New England Journal of Medicine, Christopher Robertson, When Desperate Patients Go to Court for Unproven Treatments - The Battle for Hospital Independence, Volume 386, Page 1200 Copyright ©(2022) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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