FDA dispels myth about animal worm drug as COVID cure

The drug can be highly toxic―even fatal―in humans.
The FDA says people should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.
The FDA says people should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.(Food and Drug Administration)
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Food and Drug Administration says it has received multiple reports of patients hospitalized after taking ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug commonly used in horses, to treat or prevent COVID-19.

“You are not a horse,” the FDA tweeted on Saturday. “You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

The FDA has not approved ivermectin either for treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. It’s not an anti-viral drug.

A form of ivermectin is FDA-approved in humans for two specific conditions caused by parasitic worms. It is available by prescription.

The other form of ivermectin is used in animals to treat heartworm and parasites. It’s safe only when prescribed for animals and can be highly toxic―even fatal―in humans, according to the FDA.

>> FAQ: COVID-19 and ivermectin intended for animals

“There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin,” an FDA spokesperson said. “That is wrong.”

Ivermectin overdoses lead to nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, balance problems, seizures, coma and even death, the FDA says.

It can also interact with other medications like blood-thinners.

“Moreover, FDA reviews drugs not just for safety and effectiveness of the active ingredients, but also for the inactive ingredients,” the spokesperson said. “Many inactive ingredients found in animal products aren’t evaluated for use in people. Or they are included in much greater quantity than those used in people. In some cases, we don’t know how those inactive ingredients will affect how ivermectin is absorbed in the human body.”

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