MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine College of Physicians called for a stoppage of the distribution of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to the public due to possible adverse side effects.
The group strongly condemns the distribution of the said drug to the residents of Quezon City last week which was headed by Anakalusugan Partylist Representative Mike Defensor.
They said a person who takes ivermectin without proper guidance might endanger his or her health.
PCP President Dr. Mario Panaligan said studies about the safety of the drug as preventive measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are still undergoing.
“Kung mayroon man po itong activity o sinasabing epekto doon sa virus like COVID-19 ito ay pinag-aaralan pa hanggang ngayon. Hindi naman sa sinasabi namin na wala namang epekto, kaya lang gusto sana naming makita kung ano ang totoong epekto nito (If ever there are activities or claims of its effects on a virus such as COVID-19, those are still being studied. We are not saying it has no effect but we want to see its real effects),” he said.
“Pangalawa, mas maganda na siguraduhin na ligtas ito. Kasi iyon ang nakakabahala, lalong lalo na kung ang nangyayari kung pinamimigay na ito basta-basta (Secondly, it is better to ensure it is safe to use. Because what is alarming is when it was being indiscriminately distributed),” he added.
Ivermectin is still not available in pharmaceuticals because it is still not registered for human use. The human-grade version of the said drug is still undergoing clinical trials.
Doctors are also not allowed to prescribe the said drug. Only hospitals with compassionate special permits are allowed to import ivermectin for their patients.
Defensor and Sagip Partylist Deputy Speaker Congressman Rodante Marcoleta got the supply from a registered compound pharmaceutical.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Usec. Eric Domingo said only a pharmacist is allowed to dispense drugs for a patient and not doctors.
“Ang tamang gamot po have to be dispensed properly by a pharmacist dahil may batas po tayo (Medicines have to be dispensed properly by a pharmacist, as what the law says),” he said.
The PCP also warned about the drug’s adverse effects which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling. Other adverse effects include dizziness, seizure, confusion, a sudden drop of blood which would potentially require hospitalization, and liver injury.
“Alalahanin natin na may mga indications ito kung kailan dapat ibigay. At tsaka kung maalala natin kung binigyan man ito ng permission para sa compassionate use hindi naman ibig sabihin na basta-basta na lang ito magagamit lalong lalo na kung nasa labas ng ospital (Let us remember that there are indications when to dispense [a medicine]. And let us remember that just because there is permission for compassionate use, it does not mean we can just give it haphazardly, especially so outside the hospital),” Pangilinan said.
Experts also advised individuals who have taken ivermectin to immediately seek medical attention if they are experiencing any adverse effects from taking the medicine. -AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)