HOUSTON - The controversial drug, ivermectin, is being prescribed widely in the Houston area by a local nurse practitioner who is eager to get the word out about the benefits it has for those battling COVID or even preventing it.
The biggest question is if ivermectin should be used to treat COVID 19? Clinical studies abroad suggest it works. However, the FDA hasn’t approved it, but studies are being done in the U.S. according to the department.
Daniel and Morgan Wagner both had COVID in the past few months. Neither are vaccinated and Daniel had it the worst.
"I figured since I was in my mid-30s and healthy, this would be nothing," said Wagner. "I would just get over it."
That didn’t happen. His wife was the first to get the virus. She recovered from COVID she says due to the off-label ivermectin prescribed to her. Now she was taking care of him.
"I am a stay-at-home mom. I treat colds for kids. I don’t treat bilateral pneumonia or Covid," she said.
They got the medicine from Nurse Practitioner Sharell Marlitz who says she has prescribed the drug to nearly 2,000 patients. She says 600 of them were severe cases. She combines that with other medications depending on the case like Zinc and Vitamin C.
"I follow up with every one of my patients, especially in that 600 group," said Marlitz. "I ask about side effects. Ocular pain is a big one, nausea, vomiting. Essentially no side effects so it baffles me why so many are hesitant."
The FDA doesn’t approve of it, so hospitals don’t prescribe it. Even the off-label brand.
Recently the American Medical Association announced they strongly oppose the ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID 19 outside of a clinical trial.
Dr. John Farley, director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Office of New Drugs at the FDA spoke to the AMA.
"Many of the trials that reported benefit, were done in other countries without any oversight by the FDA," He said, "We have no way of confirming that the results reported in those trials are real or not. We do have large clinical trials going on right now in this country and others which should tell us more about whether ivermectin is helpful in treatment."
I asked why is it so hard to find a doctor to talk about this?
"Unfortunately I am sure you have heard what has happened to front-line doctors and stuff like that," said Marlitz. "Getting canceled and criticized is a really big thing. I have family members who are scared for me to do this interview."