How much does ivermectin cost? Can we expect shortages due to coronavirus?
Update January 12, 2021.
Research by the University of Liverpool in December 2020 found that ivermectin (brand name: Soolantra or Stromectol) reduced recovery time for COVID-19 patients. The study examined a little over 1,456 patients across 11 randomized clinical trials from all over the world. This study expands on research from June 2020 that found ivermectin inhibited growth of SARs CoV-2 in vitro (in a petri dish, effectively). Ivermectin also saw a boost in publicity at a December Senate hearing where Senator Ron Johnson (R- WI) called forth experts to support the use of the drug against coronavirus. Though the research seems promising, ivermectin is not approved for emergency use against the novel coronavirus. More importantly, self-medication using the drug ivermectin appears to be running rampant in certain areas of the world. An October 2020 report from The Economist found that people in Peru were using veterinarian grade ivermectin to self-treat the virus. In December, the FDA released a FAQ sheet on ivermectin use, specifically pertaining to veterinary ivermectin. Writes the FDA:
“While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your healthcare provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”
As of January 2021, the U.S. has not seen shortages of the drug. Recently, though, a man arrived in Durban, South Africa with R100k (in Rands, South African currency) worth of ivermectin.
Original post follows.
Ivermectin, sold under the brand name Stromectol or Soolantra in the U.S., treats conditions caused by parasites, such as threadworm and roundworm. In early April of 2020, ABC News reported that the drug was being investigated as a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus. ABC spoke to a team of scientists in Australia, who described two in vitro studies of the drug used against the SARS-CoV-2. In the two studies, cells injected with both the novel coronavirus and ivermectin demonstrated that the treatment could potentially staunch the growth of the virus. Tests have yet to be performed on human subjects, but, as noted in his interview with ABC, Dr. Kylie Wagstaff is hopeful that this drug, which has been used as a treatment for decades, is safe enough to move directly to clinical trials.
It is important to note that the safety and efficacy of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 has not been declared by the FDA at this time.
Previous announcements about possible COVID-19 treatments have led to shortages of the drugs. For example, doctors and pharmacists were accused of hoarding the Ebola treatment redesmivir as well as the anti-malarial drug chloroquine hydroxychloroquine. More recently, the drug Kaletra, an HIV treatment, was on backorder, potentially due to interest in it as a COVID-19 treatment. This does not bode well for the ivermectin supply.
How much does ivermectin cost?
Ivermectin’s average U.S. retail price is around $45 for eight generic tablets. Per tablet, this is somewhat expensive, but remember that ivermectin does not treat a chronic condition. Patients taking it will likely only have the prescription for a finite amount of time to treat parasite-related conditions.
Comparing Ivermectin (Stromectol, Soolantra) Prices
|Drug Strength Quantity||Average U.S. Retail Price||U.S. Prescription Discount Card U.S. Price||Accredited International Pharmacy Price||Greatest Percentage Savings|
|Ivermectin (generic) 3 mg 8 tablets||$45.26||$9.96||$11.38||78%|
|Ivermectin (generic topical cream) 1% tube 45 g||$585.08||Not available||$97.43||83%|
|Stromectol (ivermectin) 3 mg 8 tablets||$53.31||$37.89||$45.91||29%|
|Soolantra (ivermectin topical cream) 1% tube 45g||$554.24*||$569.55||$103.48||88%|
*PharmacyChecker calculated this average with limited data.
Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.
Where can I find the cheapest ivermectin?
You can actually find the lowest prices for ivermectin at your local U.S. pharmacy using the U.S. Prescription Discount Card. At a pharmacy near New Orleans, Louisiana, the card got a 78% discount on the tablets.
What is the difference between the topical cream and the tablets?
Ivermectin tablets are used to treat parasite-related infections. Ivermectin topical cream is used as a treatment for rosacea, a chronic skin condition.
How would ivermectin be used to treat COVID-19?
Ivermectin is traditionally used to treat parasite-related conditions, such as roundworm, threadworm, or onchocerciasis, aka “river blindness.” Speaking to ABC, Dr. Wagstaff noted that his team hopes ivermectin, which prevents parasites from binding to cells, would do the same with COVID-19. Ivermectin is known to attack the protein in an RNA virus that damages the cell’s own immune system.
Dr. Kyle Wagstaff: “So one common feature that RNA viruses have is they often have one or two viral proteins that are specifically dedicated to dampening the host's immune response through this specific mechanism…And ivermectin is known to target a protein that is involved in that process, so we think that's why it would work.”
How do I prevent infections from parasites?
Parasitic infections are often the result of your environment. River blindness, the condition most commonly associated with ivermectin, is more typically found on the continent of Africa, where the parasite resides in blackflies, per the World Health Organization. Prevention efforts have included spraying pesticides on blackfly larvae and wide distribution of ivermectin, which treats the condition.
In order to prevent roundworms, the CDC recommends wearing shoes when walking over soil and disposing of fecal matter properly.
I see ivermectin can also be used to treat a pet. Can I use pet ivermectin to treat myself?
No. Do not use a drug that is not expressly prescribed to you. Ivermectin is also used as an anti-parasitic in dogs, sometimes as an injection to be performed by a veterinarian. These drugs for pets have a different formulation than the tablets used to treat parasites in humans.
Where is ivermectin manufactured?
Stromectol sold in the U.S. is manufactured in Macau (an autonomous region on the south coast of China).
Soolantra sold in the U.S. is made in Canada and marketed by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.
Ivermectin cream 1% sold in the U.S. is made in Canada and marketed by Prasco Laboratories.
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