Ineffective drugs are inefficient use of resources
“The results of the COVID-OUT trial provide persuasive additional data that increase the confidence and degree of certainty that fluvoxamine and ivermectin are not effective in preventing progression to severe disease,” wrote Salim S. Abdool Karim, MB, and Nikita Devnarain, PhD, of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Durban, in an accompanying editorial.
At the start of the study, in 2020, data on the use of the three drugs to prevent severe COVID-19 were “either unavailable or equivocal,” they said. Since then, accumulating data support the current study findings of the nonefficacy of ivermectin and fluvoxamine, and the World Health Organization has advised against their use for COVID-19, although the WHO has not provided guidance for the use of metformin.
The authors called on clinicians to stop using ivermectin and fluvoxamine to treat COVID-19 patients.
“With respect to clinical decisions about COVID-19 treatment, some drug choices, especially those that have negative [World Health Organization] recommendations, are clearly wrong,” they wrote. “In keeping with evidence-based medical practice, patients with COVID-19 must be treated with efficacious medications; they deserve nothing less.”
The study was supported by the Parsemus Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, Fast Grants, and UnitedHealth Group Foundation. The fluvoxamine placebo tablets were donated by Apotex Pharmaceuticals. The ivermectin placebo and active tablets were donated by Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals. Lead author Dr. Bramante was supported the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose. Dr. Abdool Karim serves as a member of the World Health Organization Science Council. Dr. Devnarain had no financial conflicts to disclose.