A vaccination record card and face mask on a table.

August 31, 2021

Using ring-worm drugs intended for animals to treat or thwart COVID-19 is a load of manure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s verdict on Ivermectin, which some people have been buying at livestock supply centers, is clear—it doesn’t prevent or cure COVID-19.

Not only does the drug fail to do so, but doses sold at livestock centers befit only the intended recipients: full-grown cows (on average 1,200-pounds) and horses (900-2,000-pounds).

The FDA and poison control centers report a surge in cases of people who have been treated—even hospitalized—due to cow-sized doses of the parasite-purposed drug.

While the Delta variant of COVID-19 is unsettling, relying on drugs that the FDA does not endorse to fight it can cause serious harm.

The government agency carefully studies scientific data about active and inactive ingredients to set proper doses and prove drugs are safe—and effective—for a targeted use.

When it comes to COVID-19, Ivermectin is neither. It is useless against SARS-CoV-2—or any virus.

That’s not to say Ivermectin isn’t used by humans. Doctors may prescribe tablets for intestinal mayhem caused by parasitic worms. It also may be given as a topical for head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea—all at appropriate doses.

The side effects of Ivermectin, whether taken incorrectly or correctly, are dizziness, seizures, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, itching, hives and poor balance. An overdose can cause coma or death.

Protection Against COVID-19

If you’re looking for the real deal on COVID-19, go to the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or your health care provider. They’ll agree: Leave large doses of Ivermectin to livestock.

A physician should prescribe medicine that you take—and those drugs should be purchased at your pharmacy, not your vet. The latter cannot know how your body absorbs a drug intended for animals. And the prescriber needs to know how drugs can interact with your other medications. Ivermectin, for instance, interacts with blood-thinners, commonly prescribed for hypertension.

For more information on protecting yourself on COVID-19, click here.

The information in this article is accurate as of August 31, 2021. It was clinically reviewed by Dr. Binita Patel.

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