Clin Ther. 2021 May 6:S0149-2918(21)00201-0. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.04.007. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Given the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there is a global urgency to discover an effective treatment for patients withthis disease. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the widely used antiparasitic drug ivermectin on outcomes in patients with COVID-19.
METHODS: In this randomized, double-blind clinical trial, patients with COVID-19 admitted to 2 referral tertiary hospitals in Mazandaran, Iran, were randomly divided into 2 groups: intervention and control. In addition to standard treatment for COVID-19, the intervention group received a single weight-based dose (0.2 mg/kg) of ivermectin; the control group received the standard of care. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and imaging data from participants were recorded at baseline. Patients were assessed daily for symptoms and disease progression. The primary clinical outcome measures were the durations of hospital stay, fever, dyspnea, and cough; and overall clinical improvement.
FINDINGS: Sixty-nine patients were enrolled (mean [SD] ages: ivermectin, 47.63 [22.20] years; control, 45.18 [23.11] years; P = 0.65). Eighteen patients (51.4%) in the ivermectin group and 18 (52.9%) in control group were male (P = 0.90). The mean durations of dyspnea were 2.6 (0.4) days in the ivermectin group and 3.8 (0.4) days in the control group (P = 0.048). Also, persistent cough lasted for 3.1 (0.4) days in the ivermectin group compared to 4.8 (0.4) days in control group (PP = 0.019). The mean durations of hospital stay were 7.1 (0.5) days versus 8.4 (0.6) days in the ivermectin and control groups, respectively (P = 0.016). Also, the frequency of lymphopenia decreased to 14.3% in the ivermectin group and did not change in the control group (P = 0.007).
IMPLICATIONS: A single dose of ivermectin was well-tolerated in symptomatic patients with COVID-19, and important clinical features of COVID-19 were improved with ivermectin use, including dyspnea, cough, and lymphopenia. Further studies with larger sample sizes, different drug dosages, dosing intervals and durations, especially in different stages of the disease, may be useful in understanding the potential clinical benefits ivermectin. Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials identifier: IRCT20111224008507N3.