Updated: Oct 21
Ivermectin is an anthelmintic or antiparasitic, meaning it can destroy parasitic worms. Although Ivermectin grew in popularity as a potential treatment for covid, Ivermectin is typically prescribed to treat river blindness, threadworm intestinal infections, and other worm infections.
Ivermectin. That is one medication I am tired of hearing about. At the peak of covid, so many people recommended stockpiling Ivermectin, just in case. It blew my mind how many natural enthusiasts recommended a synthetic pharmaceutical medication.
Much of this need for Ivermectin stemmed simply because the mainstream said it didn’t work. As someone who is anti-mainstream and even more anti-pharmaceuticals, a warning from the mainstream is NOT evidence that it works (or is safe), especially for something like covid.
Even if there is evidence of it working in some cases, Ivermectin shouldn’t be anyone’s first line of defense for an illness. It also shouldn't be a first choice for parasitic infections, especially when safer alternatives like antiparasitic herbs exist. Of course, pharmaceuticals have a time and place, but that doesn't erase the dangers associated with these synthetically derived drugs.
Covid aside (because, let’s face it, we’re all over covid talk by now), many people use Ivermectin for its intended purpose – parasites. So let’s discuss it.
What is Ivermectin?
Ivermectin is an anthelmintic or antiparasitic drug that can destroy parasitic worms (1). Ivermectin is typically prescribed to treat river blindness, threadworm intestinal infections, and other worm infections (2).
There are several variations of Ivermectin, which seemed to cause a lot of confusion for people in 2020. Oral Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections like Strongyloidiasis and Onchocerciasis caused by parasitic worms. A topical version of Ivermectin may be prescribed for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Like most pharmaceuticals, there is also an animal-safe version, which helps prevent heartworm disease and certain parasites (3).
Due to the mainstream recommendation against using Ivermectin and making it difficult for doctors to prescribe, some people stockpiled Ivermectin meant for animals. Remember that taking a drug meant for a large animal like a horse or cow is dangerous. These larger animals weigh up to 15x more than the average adult (2,000 pounds). Additionally, many drugs intended for animal consumption have inactive ingredients that aren’t safe for humans.
Ingredients in Ivermectin
As previously discussed, two types of Ivermectin are recommended for humans: oral (Stromectol) and topical (Soolantra). Let's discuss their ingredients.
Oral Ivermectin (Stromectol)
First and foremost, Stromectol is manufactured by Merck & Co., which also produces the Gardasil vaccines. According to the Stromectol insert, Ivermectin's active ingredient is a mixture containing at least 90% 5-O-demethyl-22,23-dihydroavermectin A1a and less than 10% 5-O-demethyl-25-de(1-methylpropyl)-22,23-dihydro-25-(1-methylethyl)avermectin A1a. Each tablet of oral Ivermectin also contains microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, magnesium stearate, butylated hydroxyanisole, and citric acid powder (anhydrous) (4).
Topical Ivermectin (Soolantra)
According to the Soolantra insert, Ivermectin is a mixture containing not less than 95.0 % and not more than 102.0 % of 5-O-demethyl-22,23-dihydroavermectin A1a plus 5-O-demethyl-25-de(1-methylpropyl)-25-(1-methylethyl)-22,23-dihydroavermectin A1a. The topical cream also contains the following inactive ingredients: carbomer copolymer type B, cetyl alcohol, citric acid monohydrate, dimethicone, edetate disodium, glycerin, isopropyl palmitate, methylparaben, oleyl alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, polyoxyl 20 cetostearyl ether, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitan monostearate, and stearyl alcohol (5).
Now that we have complete ingredient lists let’s investigate the ingredients further!
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a synthetic food antioxidant that prevents oxidative deterioration and rancidity (6). The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed BHA as a category one priority substance that causes interference with hormone function (7). BHA is also accused of impacting male fertility and rats, causing liver, thyroid, and kidney problems and affecting lung function and blood coagulation (8).
Dimethicone is an ingredient ending in "cone," meaning it's a silicone-based ingredient. Silicone-based products will form a barrier on top of your skin that can trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells, and other debris - it can dehydrate your skin and interfere with cell renewal, amongst other things (9). This ingredient is also toxic or harmful to the non-reproductive organ system and is a suspected environmental toxin (10).
Methylparaben & Propylparaben
Methylparaben and propylparaben are ingredients ending in "paraben," meaning it's a paraben. Parabens have been found in the breast tissues of 19 out of 20 women with breast cancer in a 2004 study (11). This doesn't necessarily mean parabens cause cancer, but they do penetrate the skin, so their other harmful effects may be doing even more than studies have learned so far. The main concern with this chemical is that studies have suggested that parabens can disrupt hormones, harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase cancer risk (12).
Phenoxyethanol is an aromatic ether that is phenol substituted on oxygen by a 2-hydroxyethyl group and is typically used as a preservative or stabilizer (13). Exposure to phenoxyethanol has been linked to things as minor as eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions (14,15). Oral exposure in infants can impair nervous system function (16). Additionally, in 2008, the FDA recalled it as unsafe for breastfeeding infants due to concerns about how it affects their central nervous system (17). Even the mainstream recognizes these concerns. One mainstream source states phenoxyethanol is unsafe for infants (18). Another mainstream source says to avoid phenoxyethanol if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering using it on a child under 3 years old (19).
Propylene glycol is a synthetic substance that absorbs water and is often used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze. Although propylene glycol breaks down in the body within 48 hours, studies show that repeated eye, skin, nasal, or oral exposures can lead to irritation (20). Reported adverse effects from this ingredient include central nervous system (CNS) toxicity, hyperosmolarity, hemolysis, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, agitation, and lactic acidosis (21).
Sodium Benzoate is an odorless, crystalline powder that combines benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide that does not occur naturally. A significant concern over sodium benzoate is its ability to convert to benzene, a known carcinogen. Benzene can form in soda and other drinks containing sodium benzoate and vitamin C (22). Benzene conversion aside, sodium benzoate is linked to inflammation, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), appetite control, oxidative stress, allergies, and more (23).
Risks Associated with Ivermectin
First and foremost, Ivermectin interacts with 93 known medications (24). Secondly, like all pharmaceuticals, Ivermectin has side effects. Just because the mainstream does not recommend it, it doesn't take away its potential to cause detrimental side effects.
Potential side effects of oral Ivermectin are (25):
Eye pain or redness, puffy eyes, problems with your vision
Severe skin rash, itching, or rash with pus
Confusion, change in your mental status
Balance problems, trouble walking
Swelling in your hands or feet
Fast heart rate
Loss of bladder or bowel control
Neck or back pain
A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out
Mild skin rash
Additionally, there are important warnings and precautions one should know before taking this medication, like (4):
Long-term studies have not been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of ivermectin.
Ivermectin is excreted in human breast milk.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies with Ivermectin in pregnant women to inform a drug-associated risk of adverse developmental outcomes.
Ivermectin has been shown to cause fetal abnormalities in animals and could do the same in humans until proven otherwise.
Adequate and well-controlled clinical studies have not been conducted for immunocompromised patients.
Potential side effects of topical Ivermectin (26):
Burning, itching, redness, or stinging of the skin
Burning, dry, or itching eyes
Discharge or excessive tearing
Redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
Skin irritation, pruritus, dry skin
Upper respiratory tract infection
Urinary tract infection
Additionally, there are important warnings and precautions one should know before taking this medication, like (5):
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Behavior development of newborn rats was adversely affected at all doses.
Ivermectin is excreted in human breast milk, and neonatal toxicity was observed in the litters.
I recognize there has been success using Ivermectin in severe cases of covid. Still, these success stories have led many to think that Ivermectin is their only fighting chance at survival. People have forgotten that antiparasitic herbs have the same benefits and much less potential for side effects.
If you’re a natural enthusiast like me, I recommend choosing herbs over pharmaceuticals whenever possible. Don’t be so anti-mainstream that you’re led astray by advice that is NOT natural!
⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.