Thousands Of Children Prescribed Ivermectin Or Hydroxychloroquine For COVID: Study

Doctors prescribed ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine more than 4,400 times to children with COVID-19 during periods of time when the drugs were not recommended against the illness by authorities, according to a new study.

Doctors issued 813 prescriptions of hydroxychloroquine to minors with COVID-19 after the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society on Sept. 12, 2020, advised against using hydroxychloroquine outside of a clinical trial, researchers found. The recommendation came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

Another 3,602 prescriptions of ivermectin for children with COVID-19 were issued after Feb. 5, 2021, when the Infectious Diseases Society of America released guidelines advising not to use ivermectin outside of a trial. The FDA later in 2021 urged people not to take ivermectin against COVID-19, although it has since been forced to rescind those warnings.

Dr. Julianne Burns, a clinical assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, and other researchers examined records from Komodo Healthcare Map, a health care claims database that Komodo Health says covers 330 million patients. They looked for children who had acute COVID-19 from March 7, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2022.

After excluding some children, including those who did not have continuous insurance coverage for at least one year prior to diagnosis, the researchers found approximately 4,480 prescriptions of “nonrecommended medications.”

All but a few dozen of the prescriptions were for ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.

Both drugs are approved by the FDA, but not against COVID-19. Some agencies, groups, and doctors say the drugs should not be used against the illness, pointing in part to clinical trials that have found little or no evidence that they’re effective. Other organizations and doctors, though, say the drugs work against COVID-19, citing their own experience and other trials that found the drugs were beneficial. Off-label prescriptions are common in the United States.

Dr. Burns and the other researchers who conducted the new study, which was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal, said their findings showed “children were prescribed ineffective and potentially harmful medications for acute COVID-19 despite national clinical guidelines.”

The only data on effectiveness or lack thereof they cited was the FDA’s authorization revocation for hydroxychloroquine and the guidance from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America. As for their safety description, they pointed to a federal advisory that found a 24-fold increase in ivermectin prescriptions and a five-fold increase during the same time of ivermectin-related calls to poison control centers.

Dr. Robert Apter, who was not involved in the study, highlighted how the study referred to potential issues but cited no evidence of actual issues from usage of the drugs against COVID-19.

“The fact that there was a report of increased calls to poison control centers about ivermectin doesn’t mean a thing. When something gets in the news and people are curious about it, they may call the poison control center,” Dr. Apter told The Epoch Times.

He said that the drugs “have a long history of safe use in children.”

Dr. Apter has prescribed treatments for thousands of COVID-19 patients and was one of the doctors who sued the FDA over its anti-ivermectin statements. He said he’s prescribed ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for several teenagers who became so sick that their families became concerned. Those children improved quickly and there were no side effects, according to the doctor.

Dr. Burns did not respond to a request for comment.

The researchers said limitations to their study stemmed from their reliance on health care records, which can’t account for COVID-19 infections that were not reported to a health care provider and might contain mislabeled codes. Funding came from the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute. No conflicts of interest were listed.

A previous study, examining claims data from Dec. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, identified 128 prescriptions of ivermectin for children for non-parasitic infections, with researchers assuming the prescriptions were for COVID-19. That paper drew from IQVIA’s health claims database. The researchers also examined data from patients with Medicare Advantage insurance and found some ivermectin prescriptions, though none for children.

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

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