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India

Health Ministry Drops Prescription of Ivermectin, HCQ, Favipiravir from COVID-19 Treatment

The nine-page guideline only mentions the use of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab but leaves out ivermectin and favipiravir which were being highly recommended by the doctors.

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A medic administers a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a woman (Photo Credit: PTI)

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Health Services on Monday (June 7) dropped the use of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and the anti-viral favipiravir from its new guidelines released on the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The organisation comes under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The nine-page guideline only mentions the use of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab but leaves out ivermectin and favipiravir which were being highly recommended by the doctors.

It also discouraged the use of steroids in asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.

The health body recommended the use of steroids at the “Right Time, in Right dose and for Right duration”.

Ivermectin was one of the highest-selling drugs during the second wave of the pandemic for the treatment of COVID-19 despite not being approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, the Directorate’s guidelines clash with those of the Indian Council of Medical Reasearch which is still recommedning the use of both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

The difference in guidelines between the two bodies has caused massive confusion among doctors in the country who are treating COVID-19 patients.

The new guidelines also talk about the treatment of Mucormycosis which has been on the rise in COVID-19 patients. Use of Liposomal Amphotericin B is recommended along with Posaconazole (300 mg) and Isavuconazole (200 mg).

Furthermore, the new guideline also talked about the restricted use of Remdisivir “The medicine is to be used only in select moderate or severe hospitalised Covid-19 patients, who are on supplemental oxygen within 10 days of onset of disease”.

“Physicians are advised to exercise extreme caution in using remdesivir as this is only an experimental drug with potential to harm,” it added.

It also called for the set up of Special Drug Committee (SDC) in every hospital whichb shopuld review the use of Remdisivir in the hospital..

“The Special Drug Committee should share their findings with the clinicians periodically to ensure rational and judicious use of Remdesivir,” said the health body.

Tozilizumba’s use was recommende for only the critically ill patients who met the following conditions:

  • If the patient shows no signs of improvement in terms of oxygen requirement even after 24-48 hours of administration of steroids
  • Has significantly raised inflammatory markers (C-Reactive Protein≥75 mg/L).