Fact Check: NIH Not Recommending Ivermectin for COVID

A viral tweet, which has been shared more than 17,000 times, claims that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is recommending ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. “Suddenly Ivermectin shows up on the NIH website for treating Covid,” the tweet reads. “After years of denial, blocking, interference, villification [sic], ruining social media accounts, killing people, etc. they silently add it to their antiviral protocol.”

(Ivermectin, as we reported  in an earlier fact check, is an anti-parasitic medication that some have used to treat COVID-19 despite little evidence of efficacy.) 

 The tweet is accompanied by a screenshot that appears to be from the NIH on “COVID-19 treatment guidelines.”

This is a false claim. The NIH is not recommending ivermectin to treat COVID-19. 

The screenshot from the viral tweet is from the NIH’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines website, which lists different sections that “summarize the data on ritonavir-boosted nirmatrelvir, remdesivir, and other antiviral medications.” The NIH guidelines page simply lists data on various antiviral therapies— it does not endorse them. As of now, according to the NIH: “Remdesivir, an antiviral agent, is currently the only drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19.” 

“The inclusion of ivermectin to the treatment guidelines is not new,” an NIH spokesperson said in an email to The Dispatch Fact Check. “Importantly, the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines panel recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.”

The NIH website, last updated on April 29, explains that several trials have assessed ivermectin, but the “primary outcomes of these trials showed that the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 had no clinical benefit.”

Only a few studies of ivermectin “have been adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted,” the NIH says. “More recent clinical trials address the limitations of earlier studies but fail to show clear evidence that ivermectin reduces time to recovery or prevents COVID-19 disease progression.”

More than once, the NIH website reads: “The Panel recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in a clinical trial.”

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