FDA: Ivermectin still not an over-the-counter drug

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — Despite being allowed for human consumption, the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin must not be treated as an over-the-counter drug, the Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.

"It is a prescription drug so a doctor has to prescribe it to you," FDA Director General Eric Domingo told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"Kailangan nireseta, kailangan i-explain sa iyo ng doctor kung ano yung gamot na nireseta sa yo, kung ano ang side effect nito, and why it’s being given to you. It’s not an over-the-counter drug," he stressed.

[Translation: It must be prescribed and the doctor should explain to you the drug that he prescribed, what its side effects are, and why it is being given to you. It's not an over-the-counter drug.]

Domingo noted that there is still not enough proof that ivermectin can treat COVID-19, since protocols for the clinical trial are still being finalized.

He said researchers from the University of the Philippines — National Institutes of Health will start recruiting potential patients for the trial by June. Results of the study may be out in four to five months.

The World Health Organization said current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive. Until more data is available, it ecommends that the drug be used only within clinical trials.

The FDA granted last week the application of pharmaceutical firm Lloyd Laboratories to register ivermectin as an anti-nematode drug, or a drug used against roundworms.

Only six hospitals were granted compassionate special permits to administer the anti-parasitic drug to coronavirus patients.

READ: FDA approves registration of ivermectin as anti-nematode drug