FDA warns against using animal deworming medicine Ivermectin to treat COVID-19

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) – People go to grocery stores and vets and buy ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites in animals such as farm animals, and take it themselves in hopes that it will prevent or treat COVID-19. The FDA states that this is not a drug used to treat viruses.

However, the FDA states that ivermectin tablets are approved in a very specific dose for some parasitic worms in humans and formulations can be used on the skin for lice or rosacea, but this drug is not approved by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of COVID approved in humans.

“I think a lot is being taken out of context and people are scared,” said Jacey Cox, director of pharmacy, Southeast Health.

Cox said it was never a good idea to take something that wasn’t prescribed by a doctor or health care provider. She warns people of the potential toxicity.

“Ivermectin can be very toxic to humans if taken in excessive doses and not intended for humans,” said Cox.

The FDA receives several reports from patients who needed medical attention and were even hospitalized after self-medication with ivermectin. On Saturday the agency tweeted: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, you all stop, ”with this link attached.

Cox said this drug can be very toxic to humans when taken in doses intended for livestock.

“The problem with this is that these drugs are in very different concentrations from what were intended for humans, and are therefore very concentrated because they are intended for large animals rather than humans,” said Cox. “So the doses are very, very different.”

Cox explains the potential consequences of people taking large doses intended for animals.

“[Ivermectin] can lead to gastrointestinal upset, possibly seizures, low blood pressure and even irregular heartbeat, ”said Cox.

Cox said the best way for humans to protect themselves from the virus is to get vaccinated.

“The Pfizer vaccination was approved by the FDA as of yesterday and you can absolutely go to our facility and pharmacies across town to get vaccinated to protect yourself from the virus,” said Cox.

The FDA encourages those prescribed ivermectin for approved use to obtain it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed.

Click here to read the FDA statement.

Click here to read the FDA FAQ.

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