HEALTH authorities have repeated their warning against the use of Lianhua Qingwen and antiparasitic drug Ivermectin as potential treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In a statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said that while Lianhua Qingwen is a prescription medicine approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) in the Philippines, it is not registered as a Covid-19 medication.
Lianhua Qingwen was registered with the FDA on August 7, 2020, but also for use as a traditional herbal product that helps remove “heat-toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose.”
Additionally, it may be used only with a doctor’s prescription.
All ivermectin products registered in the country, meanwhile, are for veterinary use. These are allowed only for the treatment of internal and external parasites as well as prevention of heartworm disease in animals.
The FDA is still processing an application filed on March 31, 2021 for product registration from concerned parties.
Moreover, studies from The Philippine Covid-19 Living CPG Reviewers of a systematic review of six randomized controlled trials showed that:
Ivermectin did not significantly reduce the risk of mortality among patients with mild to severe Covid-19 cases.
Ivermectin was not associated with a definite benefit of other clinically important outcomes such as clinical improvement at day 6 to 10, clinical deterioration and need for mechanical ventilation.
Ivermectin did not significantly reduce the duration of hospitalization and the time to resolution of symptoms.
The rate of hospitalization discharge did not differ significantly between the ivermectin group and the placebo group.
“Based on the current evidence from randomized controlled trials, the DOH agrees with the Covid-19 Living CPG Reviewers and does not recommend the use of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19,” DOH said.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to the Philippines, has stated that there is no evidence that supports the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19, even as a preventive measure.
The use of ivermectin for Covid-19 has to be evaluated through clinical trials, Abeyasinghe said. (SunStar Philippines from PR)