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Dear Dr. Roach: Ivermectin for COVID is still in trial phase

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Dr. Keith Roach

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DEAR DR. ROACH: I have seen a couple videos and read a little about ivermectin use with COVID-19 and wondered what your thoughts were.

-- S.R.

A: Ivermectin is a prescription drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of certain parasitic worms in humans. It is also used in veterinary medicine.

A preliminary study showed that ivermectin can inhibit replication of cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Several studies have since been done, and although some have shown promising results, it is still too early to recommend treatment. For one thing, the dose needed to inhibit viral replication in test tubes was not possible to achieve with treatment in humans. Moreover, there are many examples of promising candidate drugs that have failed when subjected to rigorous trials. These types of trials are ongoing now. Until the results are available, I would recommend against the use of ivermectin.

Let me implore people not to treat themselves with veterinary ivermectin. These products are not designed for humans.

DEAR DR. ROACH: Six days ago, my father had bypass surgery. Coughing with phlegm started on the day after the surgery and it hasn't stopped yet. Right now, it is even worse than it was in the beginning. Is this normal? Usually my father smokes a lot and even after surgery he is smoking about 10 cigarettes a day. Can smoking be the cause of coughing? In several articles I read that coughing after surgery is normal but that it lasts for only a few days. My father is still coughing six days after surgery. This is why I'm worried.

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-- D.A.

A: Smoking can indeed be the cause of coughing, but coughing after surgery is sometimes a result of serious complications, such as partial lung collapse or pneumonia. A call or visit with the surgeon's office would be a good idea. They would have a great deal of experience at telling worrisome causes of coughing from the routine post-surgery cough.

Quitting smoking is the single most important thing your father can do to improve his overall health, especially given a history of heart blockages.

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