Authors: Kircik LH, Del Rosso JQ, Layton AM, Schauber J
Although the broad-spectrum anti-parasitic effects of the avermectin derivative ivermectin are well documented, its anti-inflammatory activity has only recently been demonstrated. For over 25 years, ivermectin has been used to treat parasitic infections in mammals, with a good safety profile that may be attributed to its high affinity to invertebrate neuronal ion channels and its inability to cross the blood-brain barrier in humans and other mammals. Numerous studies report low rates of adverse events, as an oral treatment for parasitic infections, scabies and head lice. Ivermectin has been used off-label to treat diseases associated with Demodex mites, such as blepharitis and demodicidosis. New evidence has linked Demodex mites to rosacea, a chronic inflammatory disease. Ivermectin has recently received FDA and EU approval for the treatment of adult patients with inflammatory lesions of rosacea, a disease in which this agent has been shown to be well tolerated. After more than 25 years of use, ivermectin continues to provide a high margin of safety for a growing number of indications based on its anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory activities.