Drug Name:Ivermectin (Stromectol)
Tablet Strength:3 mg, 6mg, 12mg
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What is Ivermectin?

Ivermectin is a widely used anti-parasitic medication approved for human use in 1987. It is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines due to its efficacy, safety and low cost. The discovery of Ivermectin’s ability to treat parasitic infections in humans and animals has been considered one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.

Ivermectin was originally isolated from bacteria in soil in Japan in 1975. Further research showed it could effectively treat parasitic worms and insecticides in animals and humans by paralyzing and killing them. Ivermectin works by binding to glutamate-gated chloride channels present in invertebrates but not mammals. This disrupts nerve impulses in parasites, causing paralysis and death.

Ivermectin Uses

Ivermectin has several key uses:

  • Treating parasitic roundworm infections – Ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm infection, enterobiasis, strongyloidiasis etc. It is considered the gold standard treatment.
  • Eliminating ectoparasitic infections – Scabies, river blindness (onchocerciasis), lymphatic filariasis etc. Ivermectin can treat the most common infections due to parasitic arthropods.
  • As an oral treatment for head lice infestation. Ivermectin provides an alternative to topical treatments with easier whole-body application.
  • Off-label uses – Rosacea, viral infections, cancer treatment research. Ivermectin has shown promising efficacy against viruses and cancer cells in laboratory studies.

Ivermectin has proven invaluable in public health efforts to eliminate parasitic infections that can cause sickness, blindness and malnutrition around the world, especially in poor communities.

How to Take Ivermectin

Ivermectin comes in tablet, topical cream and topical lotion formulas. Tablets are taken orally with water generally on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. The dose and duration depends on the type of infection being treated.

For instance, just a single dose of 150-200 mcg/kg body weight is effective to treat scabies. Two doses of 200 mcg/kg each are required for head lice. For other infections like strongyloidiasis, two doses of 200 mcg/kg a week apart may be needed.

Always take the tablet dose of Ivermectin as prescribed by your doctor. Do not increase dose or duration without medical guidance. Drink plenty of fluids and maintain proper hygiene to enhance results.

Ivermectin Dosage Guidelines

The standard Ivermectin tablet dose for adults is between 150-200 mcg/kg body weight. The dosage may be increased for severe infections, but higher doses can increase side effects without improving efficacy. The maximum oral tablet dose not to be exceeded is 400 mcg/kg.

For children, the dosage of Ivermectin is based on body weight. The recommended dosage range for kids is between 100-200 mcg/kg body weight. Ivermectin is generally well tolerated in kids above 5 years and >15 kg body weight.

Ivermectin dose does not need adjustment for elderly patients but pre-existing conditions may warrant extra monitoring. Always consult a doctor before self-medicating with Ivermectin tablets. Follow-up and repeat doses may be required based on your infection.

Ivermectin Side Effects

When used as prescribed under medical supervision, Ivermectin has relatively few side effects. Potential side effects include:

  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

These symptoms are usually mild and transient. Seek medical care if you experience severe side effects like seizures, blurry vision, chest pain, severe dizziness or breathing issues.

A major side effect of Ivermectin is encephalopathy in patients with river blindness caused by potential death of microfilariae. This can be mitigated by pretreatment with corticosteroids.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Inform doctor before taking Ivermectin if you have liver/kidney disorders, seizure history or any other health conditions.
  • Use with caution in elderly patients and children weighing less than 15 kg. Lower doses may be warranted.
  • Avoid taking high doses for prolonged periods to minimize side effects. Carefully follow dosage guidelines.
  • Do not take with alcohol or sedating medications that depress the central nervous system.
  • Contact doctor if you do not feel better after taking the prescribed dose of Ivermectin.
  • Always complete the full course of Ivermectin therapy even if feeling better to fully eliminate infections.


Ivermectin may interact with drugs that increase GABA activity in the brain such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines. Consult doctor before using sleeping pills, anxiety medications or any CNS depressant together.

Other drugs like Warfarin, Digoxin and certain antidepressants can also potentially interact with Ivermectin. Always inform doctor about supplements and medications you already take to prevent complications.

Do not take any interacting drugs concurrently or within 2 hours of taking Ivermectin. Your doctor may adjust medication dosage and frequency to minimize interaction risks if Ivermectin is deemed necessary.

Ivermectin in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There is limited safety data for Ivermectin use in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Ivermectin does cross the placental barrier and is excreted in breast milk in low concentrations. It should only be used if the benefit clearly outweighs potential risk to the fetus or infant. Always consult doctor before using Ivermectin when pregnant or nursing.

Storing Ivermectin

Store Ivermectin tablets in cool room temperature away from heat, moisture and direct light. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Keep this medication locked and away from children. Do not use tablets past expiration date specified on package.

Properly discard old or leftover Ivermectin tablets so they are not misused or accidentally ingested. Ask pharmacist about correct disposal methods in your area. Never share or use medication prescribed for someone else even if symptoms seem similar.