Ivermectin (Stromectol)

Ivermectin (Stromectol)

Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent that has been used safely for decades. While promising as an antiviral, more research is needed to confirm its efficacy and safety for COVID-19.

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Reviewed by Olivia Irving, PhD, On November 7, 2023

It should only be used as prescribed and under medical supervision.

Home » Antibiotics » Ivermectin (Stromectol)

Ivermectin (Stromectol): what is it?

Ivermectin is a medicine that is able to cure many parasitic infections. The list includes head lice, scabies, river blindness, strongyloidiasis, trichocephaliasis, ascariasis and lymphatic filariasis. There are both oral and topical dosage forms of it. In addition, there was information that the substance is able to treat viruses. However, the issue is still under investigation.

The discovery and action of the medicine

Ivermectin was discovered in 1975 and has been utilized in medicinal practice since 1981. The WHO put it on the list of essential medicines.

The scientists who discovered this compound were Omura Satoshi of Kitasato University and William Campbell of the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research. Omura found a similar compound called avermectin and Campbell purified it and changed the structure a bit. Thus, ivermectin is a derivative of a natural compound with greater potency and less toxicity.

Moreover, these scientists were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine because their invention radically reduced the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis and also was able to prevent the expansion of other parasitic diseases.

The compound disrupts the nerve and muscle functions of various helminths and insects. As a result, parasites are paralyzed, then, they die and are removed from the body.

Indications for usage and doses

The most common indications for this medicine include intestinal strongyloidiasis and scabies. However, numerous investigations revealed that ivermectin is effective in treating conditions such as:

  • pediculosis,
  • river blindness (onchocerciasis),
  • trichuriasis,
  • ascariasis,
  • lymphatic filariasis.

The common oral dosage form is tablets with 3 mg of an active ingredient. The prescription depends on the condition, age and weight of the patient, for example:

  • For intestinal strongyloidiasis adults are prescribed 200 mcg per 1 kg of weight. The medicine is taken twice with an interval of 2 weeks.
  • For scabies, the dose is the same but one intake is sufficient.

Therefore, a doctor should diagnose the patient and then select a dose and treatment mode to achieve the desired effect.

Possible adverse effects and contraindications

Different possible side effects may occur, namely:

  • asthenia and fatigue;
  • abdominal pain;
  • anorexia;
  • constipation or diarrhea;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • dizziness and tremor;
  • skin rash.

The main contraindication is allergic reactions to this or similar medicines. In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for immunocompromised patients.

The utilization in children is also questionable due to the possible toxic effects. That is why it is important to consult a doctor or a pharmacist online and get a prescription.

The possibility to treat COVID-19

After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was shown that ivermectin inhibits the replication of this virus. This meant that the medicine could be used to cure the disease. Research conducted among medical personnel showed that the use of the drug for preventive purposes significantly reduces the chances of infection and shortens the course in the case of the disease occurrence.

However, these results were not sufficient and the US National Institutes of Health has not approved ivermectin for the treatment of any disease of viral origin, including the COVID-2019.

Still, some countries like India and Japan did not prohibit its utilization. In India, it was approved and widely used. Later, the governments changed their decision and, for now, there is still no sufficient information on this issue.


Ivermectin became popular a few years ago as a possible cure for COVID-19. However, there is not enough scientific data to claim this. Still, this medicine is a powerful antiparasitic agent and is used to combat numerous parasites.


What is Ivermectin for?

This antiparasitic agent can cure head lice, scabies, river blindness, strongyloidiasis, trichocephaliasis, ascariasis and lymphatic filariasis.

Is Ivermectin safe?

The medicine must be used in a specified dose and according to the prescription to avoid toxic and side effects.

Who cannot use Ivermectin?

It is not prescribed to those who have allergies, to immunocompromised patients and women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

How long does it take for Ivermectin to work?

The time it takes for Ivermectin to work can depend on the type of infection being treated. It may take several weeks for the full benefits to be noticed, especially for conditions like onchocerciasis where the destruction of the adult worms can be gradual.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Ivermectin?

There is no direct contraindication regarding alcohol consumption while taking Ivermectin; however, it’s always best to check with a healthcare provider. Alcohol can increase the likelihood of side effects or affect the immune system, so moderation is key.

Can Ivermectin be taken with other medications?

Some drugs may interact with Ivermectin, so it’s important to discuss with your healthcare provider all medications and supplements you are currently taking to determine if Ivermectin is safe for you.

Can Ivermectin be used for animals and humans?

While Ivermectin is used in both humans and animals, the formulations are different and not interchangeable. The Ivermectin used in animals is often at a higher dose and may contain inactive ingredients that are not safe for humans. Always use medication that is prescribed for you by a healthcare provider.

Ivermectin (Stromectol)