A Chicago-area hospital is pushing back on the use of the drug ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 after it said its administration caused a female patient’s heart rate to drop dramatically following a “mega dose” of the drug, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The hospital, the Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., will head to court Wednesday afternoon to argue that using the controversial drug as a treatment for the coronavirus could cause further health problems for the patient.
Attorneys for the patient, Leslie Pai, say that the hospital staff misinterpreted the prescription dosage and that her medical records don’t indicate a significant drop in her heart rate. They argue that Pai is responding well to the treatment with ivermectin.
Ivermectin made headlines when it began being authorized for use as a COVID-19 treatment. Health regulatory agencies say that it is usually used as a medicine for treating various infections caused by internal and external parasites, and that it has been used on both animals and humans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement on its use as a COVID-19 medication in August, warning the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) has not approved its use for treating COVID-19 infections and that reports of adverse effects and overdoses have increased.
The Tribune reported that the family of Pai, a 68-year-old photographer, has been pushing in court to have her receive ivermectin.
Pai’s daughter, Tiffany Wilson, had her transferred to Advocate Condell from another hospital after it opposed the use of ivermectin. After Advocate Condell initially refused the use of ivermectin, Wilson sued in DuPage County. While Advocate Condell Medical Center is in Lake County, its parent company is in DuPage County, where judges in at least two decisions have issued rulings siding with patients who have requested that they be treated with ivermectin.
On Friday, the Tribune reported, DuPage County Judge Ann Hayes granted a temporary injunction that allowed an outside physician to give Pai ivermectin.
Affidavits filed by the hospital’s lawyers stated that Pai’s condition did not improve from the treatment, and that after one dose her pulse fell to 28 beats per minute, requiring ICU staff to administer norepinephrine, the Tribune reported.
“In my expert medical opinion … without the intervention of Advocate Condell Medical Center ICU staff, Ms. Pai was at risk of heart failure, stroke, death and other significant harm,” attending physician Harvey Friedman wrote.
The hospital sent a statement to the Tribune, saying that while the staff has sympathy for Pai and her family, the staff “do not support or recommend the administration of ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. We stand with our care team in recommending other proven courses of treatment which have worked safely and effectively for thousands of patients.”
The Tribune reported that it could not reach Wilson for comment, but that in an affidavit she said her own research had indicated the risks of ivermectin were “infinitesimally small.”