How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Ivermectin belongs to the class of medications called antiparasitic agents. It is used to treat infections caused by certain parasitic worms that live under the skin or in the digestive system. These infections are most common in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. This medication treats strongyloidiasis, a roundworm infection of the digestive system. It also treats onchocerciasis (also called river blindness), a roundworm infection that affects the skin and can cause blindness.
Ivermectin works by paralyzing the worm, gradually causing them to die, thus getting rid of the infection.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each gram of white-to-pale-yellow topical cream contains 10 mg ivermectin. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer copolymer type B, cetyl alcohol, citric acid monohydrate, dimeticone 20 Cst, disodium edetate, glycerol, isopropyl palmitate, macrogol cetostearyl ether, methyl parahydroxybenzoate, oleyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, propyl parahydroxybenzoate, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitan stearate, and stearyl alcohol.
How should I use this medication?
This cream should be applied at bedtime to the face, forehead, chin, nose, and cheeks. Before applying the cream, wash your face with a mild cleanser. Pat your skin dry and wash your hands well. A pea-sized amount of cream should be applied to each area of the face and gently rubbed into the skin to provide a smooth and even application across the face. Avoid the eyes and lips. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the cream.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to ivermectin or any ingredients of the medication.
Do not give this medication to children who weigh less than 15 kg.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain
- swollen eye lids
- unusual weakness
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- asthma flare-up
- bleeding in the whites of the eyes
- decreased alertness
- difficulty controlling bladder or bowels
- difficulty standing or walking
- dizziness or lightheadedness, especially after standing up
- fast heart rate
- joint or muscle pain
- neck or back pain
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- swelling of hands, feet, face
- swollen lymph nodes
- vision changes
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- becoming unresponsive or comatose
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
- signs of a severe skin reaction such as blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
HEALTH CANADA ADVISORY
October 19, 2021
Health Canada has issued information concerning the use of ivermectin. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at https://recalls-rappels.canada.ca/en/alert-recall/ivermectin-not-authorized-prevent-or-treat-covid-19-may-cause-serious-health-problems
August 31, 2021
Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of ivermectin. To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.
Immune system function: People with decreased immune system function, such as those who have had an organ transplant, have HIV infection or are being treated with chemotherapy for cancer may require more frequent doses of ivermectin. When the immune system is not working well, the parasites are able to reproduce without being stopped by the body's defenses. Additional treatments may be necessary to control the infection.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and take ivermectin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children weighing less than 15 kg.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between ivermectin and any of the following:
- BCG vaccine
- cholera vaccine
- sodium picosulfate
- typhoid vaccine
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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