Numerous Children Given Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for COVID Treatment

Doctors prescribed ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine to more than 4,400 children with COVID-19 during periods when these drugs were not recommended for the illness by health authorities, a recent study reveals.

Researchers discovered that after the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society advised against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside clinical trials on Sept. 12, 2020, doctors issued 813 prescriptions for the drug to minors with COVID-19. Additionally, after the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommended against using ivermectin outside of a trial on Feb. 5, 2021, another 3,602 prescriptions for ivermectin were issued to children with COVID-19. Despite the FDA later rescinding warnings against taking ivermectin for COVID-19, these prescriptions continued.

Dr. Julianne Burns, along with other researchers, analyzed records from the Komodo Healthcare Map, a database covering 330 million patients, to identify children diagnosed with acute COVID-19 between March 7, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022. They found approximately 4,480 prescriptions for “nonrecommended medications,” with the majority being for ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal, highlighted that despite national clinical guidelines advising against it, children were being prescribed potentially harmful medications for acute COVID-19. The researchers cited evidence such as the FDA’s revocation of hydroxychloroquine’s emergency use authorization and guidance from medical societies.

Dr. Robert Apter, who was not involved in the study, emphasized that increased calls to poison control centers about ivermectin may not necessarily indicate harm, as people might call out of curiosity. He argued that both drugs have a long history of safe use in children and cited his own positive experiences prescribing them to COVID-19 patients.

The study acknowledged limitations due to reliance on healthcare records and potential underreporting of COVID-19 infections. Funding for the research came from the Stanford Maternal and Child Health Research Institute.

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