Alberta Health Services says its scientific advisory group has updated its review into using ivermectin to treat COVID-19, warning that existing studies have problems and the available evidence doesn’t deem it safe.
The province’s health delivery agency says in a series of tweets that studies to date into using ivermectin, which is primarily used to treat cases of worms in livestock, on the novel coronavirus have “inadequate controls” and “flawed design.”
The agency also notes the existing studies suffer from bias and small sample sizes, and that some of those previously shared have also been withdrawn due to concerns over fraudulent data.
It says more research is necessary to determine the safety and effectiveness of ivermectin in prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
On Friday, the agency issued a warning about the dangers of ivermectin after a doctor from Vancouver said in a social media post that he’d used the drug to treat three COVID-19 patients while filling in at a rural hospital in Rimbey, Alta. last month.
It says there remains considerable uncertainty if there is any benefit with ivermectin, but there are known harms.
“We urge the public not to misuse any medications in their efforts to avoid or manage COVID-19,” the health agency said in its tweets on Saturday.
“Vaccination remains our best means of preventing COVID-19 at this time.”
The agency has said it will be conducting a review after receiving complaints about the doctor, but he is not scheduled to work again as a replacement in the Alberta health system.
Calls have also increased to Alberta’s poison and drug information service about ivermectin.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2021.