What happens if your prescribed medication becomes the center of covid misinformation

Friedman is said to have been forced to change how he communicates with patients when he needs to prescribe hydroxychloroquine. “I’m now working on my script: ‘Hey, I want you to start on this drug. You’ve probably heard about it in relation to covid, that it’s used as a drug and not,'” he said. ” It got a lot of negative statements. However, in dermatology we have been using it for decades for a variety of things. ”

To understand how much of this confusion could also be the future of ivermectin, I went to r / Rosacea, the subreddit for advice on dealing with the chronic condition.

The category is different

People with rosacea know ivermectin is not an unproven covid medication, but as a proven and effective treatment that can help some people with a type of rosacea that causes ulbok on the skin. On the subreddit, one user was confused by the sudden increase in attention, asking: “Why do ivermectin memes appear everywhere now? And how does the mainstream know what they are?”

For people on the subreddit, ivermectin is an ongoing topic of discussion. There’s an expensive topical cream called Soolantra that contains an over-the-counter remedy, and a generic version is being released this summer. But a subset of users also know that the same remedy is in horse paste, because some people diagnosed with rosacea also buy a veterinary form-often because they can’t get to the creams. or unable to prescribe.

This practice is controversial among people with rosacea, and dermatologists have raised concerns about experimenting with a product that contains inappropriate doses or untested ingredients that have side effects. However, Feinstein said, a person with rosacea who switches to horse paste for cost reasons is in an indistinguishable medical and ethical universe from one where people eat horse paste to “heal” the covid. For diagnosed rosacea patients who need ivermectin to control the condition, Feinstein says, “unfortunately, the best medication patients can get.”

People who use Soolantra or the standard version of the topical ivermectin, as of now, are unlikely to encounter deficiencies, according to Feinstein. there reports even with farm supply stores running short of horse paste, though. In addition to some practical access issues-while recounting this story, I spoke to a man who had to buy horse paste from the UK to treat his pet rat for mites a few weeks ago – there’s an extra layer of scrutiny and stigma How do you mean you use horse paste yourself, but don’t want to that?

“Included in most ideas”

Subreddit moderators are already familiar with misinformation about ivermectin.

“We’ve seen some crazy things, like people recommending wearing a flea collar or using pesticides on their face.”

Ryan, a moderator on the r / rosacea forum

People use the site, like many online communities, to discuss and sell information based on their experience: for example, discussing the best facial cleansers, asking how to avoid triggering a flare, or share how their treatment has improved over time. However they can also incubate and improve misinformation, which should be monitored and removed by moderators.

Even though there are some Facebook groups that promote horse paste for those with rosacea, the r / Rosacea subreddit neither encourages nor forbids discussion of its use. A moderator told me that the greatest risk is that people will self-diagnose rosacea and decide to treat themselves with a DIY version of a medication, albeit in an intentional form. to be used by humans, should only be used under the guidance of a physician. .

Not all rosacea is the same, though, and the reasons why ivermectin may work for some is still a topic of scientific debate.

There is a connection between rosacea and demodex mites, which live in hair follicles more or less on each other’s face. in people with any form of rosacea, those mites are there in abundance. But the real relationship is unclear. “The question is chicken or egg,” Friedman said. Do people have sensitive environments for demodex mites to live too much, or “or is it too much growth that exacerbates rosacea?”

The uncertainty has led to some dangerous suggestions online, according to Ryan, a Reddit moderator who asked me to withhold his last name.

“People are attracted and attached to this implied idea that if they just kill the mites, their rosacea and their problems will go away,” he said. “We’ve even seen some crazy things, like people being recommended to wear flea collars or use pesticides on their face.”

Data gaps and poisoned wells

Online misinformation marketers often take advantage of a data gap, telling people to search for specific terms they know will bring results that highlight what they’re trying to convey. At worst, as a researcher’s misinformation Renee DiResta has written before, the primary consequences may end up entirely from people believing and promoting misinformation.

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