Two weeks ago we told you about new research that suggested an FDA approved drug may be able to kill bed bugs.
Potentially, this would offer a medical solution to a nasty problem: infestation.
Sounds great, right? Well, bed bug queen Brooke Borel of PopSci warns us that researchers have tried this before, without luck:
It may sound promising. But, the idea for a systemic bed bug drug isn’t new. A series of patents published in the 1980s and 1990s covered the approach, albeit with a different drug, a later patent application suggested it for ivermectin, and the general idea has been floated at entomology conferences, by medical doctors, and in online forums ever since. And, there are several reasons why it has never gained traction.
She explains that, first of all, because Ivermectin was not originally developed for bed bugs, it may not be very potent way to kill them.
In the recent study, only three out of five bed bugs who snacked on the ivermectin blood died, and that was three hours after their blood meal. And bad news, the bugs that survive the tainted blood would be more likely to develop and pass on resistance to ivermectin, which has developed in other parasites.
Because the ivermectin was designed to kill parasites that live inside the body and can’t escape the drug. Bed bugs, on the other hand, only feed off humans about once a week. Humans would need to take the drug, which is only meant to be taken as a one-time dose, for several weeks before they could be sure the majority of their buggy bedfellows were dosed.
Borel talked to the researcher, Johnathan Sheele, who stressed that the findings are preliminary and that bed bug sufferers shouldn’t take ivermectin to try to kill them off. It isn’t approved for long term use to treat bed bugs, and getting it approved would be too costly.
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