COVID-19: pilot study hints at ivermectin effect on anosmia

  • Chaccour C & al
  • EClinicalMedicine
  • 19 Jan 2021

  • curated by Liz Scherer
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • In this small pilot study, ivermectin at a maximum dose was linked to self-reported reductions in anosmia/hyposmia and cough in patients with COVID-19.

Why this matters

  • Findings had suggested some effect of ivermectin in attenuating COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Its use has proved controversial following on mixed findings.

Key results

  • 24 patients.
  • Median age for ivermectin and placebo groups (each n=12) was 26 years.
  • Day 7, posttreatment:
    • 100% patients in both groups were PCR-positive for the nucleocapsid gene.
    • 91% in the ivermectin and 100% in the placebo group were PCR-positive for the envelope gene.
  • Median viral load declined over time more steeply in the ivermectin group vs placebo, but the difference never met significance out to day 21.
  • Any symptoms experienced:
    • 171 patient-days with ivermectin vs
    • 255 patient-days with placebo.
  • Anosmia/hyposmia:
    • 76 patient-days with ivermectin vs
    • 158 patient-days with placebo.
  • Cough:
    • 68 patient-days with ivermectin vs
    • 97 patient-days with placebo.
  • No patients progressed to severe disease.
  • At day 21, median (interquartile range) IgG titer index: 4.7 (3.5-8.9) ivermectin vs 7.5 (4.2-9.3; P=.24) placebo.

Study design

  • Pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-center, parallel-arm superiority, randomized study assessing ivermectin 400 μg/kg for reducing COVID-19 transmission in Spanish patients.
  • Funding: Idipharma SL; others.

Limitations

  • Small numbers of patients included.
  • Limited to patients with mild illness.
  • Heterogeneous samples.