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Ivermectin's fraudulent studies that are circulating online have caused problems within the medical community after it shows that more people are taking the infamous horse medicine than they initially thought.

Ivermectin's Unproven Effectiveness

Dr. Carlos Chaccour from Peru noted that when they started recruiting patients for their study to determine if the anti-parasitic drug is effective or not.

They've discovered that more than half of the patients are taking ivermectin, thinking it will cure them.

Peru's former health minister, Patricia Garcia, told Nature that out of the ten patients that would come to the hospital, 8 of them have taken the horse drug. Thus they can't participate in the study anymore.

Ivermectin has never been proven as an effective treatment for COVID-19. Studies that stated that it is effective are either poorly conducted or outright faked. Yet, despite the false claim, the drug is very popular, especially among the anti-vaxxers.

One of the first fraudulent ivermectin studies was revealed a couple of months into the pandemic before being used as an alternative medicine for the virus.

The said study found the horse drug had improved and reduced the mortality rate in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The study was retracted by the medical journal that published it after it was discovered that it was intentionally faked, and the patients that they've used are nonexistent.

Unfortunately, the damage had been done. Even before the study was retracted, the Peruvian government already included ivermectin in its COVID-19 therapeutic guidelines.

Other studies found the horse drug has no significant impact on COVID-19 patients and that larger studies are needed to be done in order to assess the impact of the drug on patients properly.

Despite all of this, the drug has taken off and is now used by patients worldwide. It is even promoted by politicians, celebrities, and even some doctors as a credible treatment for the virus.

Dr. Chaccour, who has been researching the horse drug for its ability to control tropical diseases for more than 15 years, stated that the hope and use of the drug are almost understandable when people are dying, and there is a lack of supply for vaccines.

Countries with enough supply of vaccines, like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, have also been affected by the hype around the ivermectin, with people even looking for ways to purchase it.

General practitioners are prescribing it. Influential politicians and controversial researchers tweet studies supporting its use.

However, more of those studies are very problematic. In July, a randomized control trial from Egypt had been retracted after ethical concerns were raised, according to Guardian Australia.

Related Article: 'You are not a Cow': FDA Asks People to Stop Using Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19

Interrogating the research

On Sept. 23, Nature Medicine published an article authored by epidemiologists and researchers who interrogated studies on the horse drug.

The authors wrote that thousands of patients had been dosed with the horse drug, relying solely on an evidence base that has substantially evaporated under close scrutiny.

The authors added that several studies that claim that there are benefits for using ivermectin are fraught, and it contains impossible numbers in their results. The study also shows unexplainable mismatches between trial registry updates.

As studies about the drug continue, the FDA warns the public that consuming ivermectin is dangerous.

Read Also: Ivermectin, a Livestock Parasite Drug, Undergoes Trial as COVID-19 Treatment in the UK

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Written by Sophie Webster

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