Doctors warn against use of horse dewormer to treat COVID-19

'You are not a horse,' FDA warns

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Health experts warn not to use ivermectin for COVID treatment, prevention.

Health experts warn not to use ivermectin for COVID treatment, prevention.

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Some people are turning to a drug not approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19: Ivermectin. 

Ivermectin, an antiparasitic medication mainly used for farm animals, is not effective in preventing or treating COVID-19. And, if you're taking a dose meant for livestock, it's definitely not safe, according to FDA and CDC.

Human doses of ivermectin do exist, but are used to treat infections caused by some parasites, head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Available data do not show ivermectin is safe or effective against COVID-19. Clinic trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing.

Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous and you should never use medications intended for animals on yourself or others. Animal ivermection products are different from those approved for humans. Use of animal ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans is dangerous, according to the FDA.

There's a lot of misinformation around, even spread by one of Michigan’s top leaders, Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey in a tweet, and you may have heard that it's OK to take large doses of ivermectin. It is not OK; livestock doses are meant for animals five to 10 times the size of an average human and can be potentially lethal if taken, according to the FDA.

Michigan hasn’t seen the same increase in sales of the farm-grade medication as other states, like Mississippi, but poison control is watching closely after spending the pandemic fielding calls about other dangerous so-called miracle cures that made rounds online, according to Dr. Varun Vohra, a clinical toxicologist of Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center.

A worker at a Family Farm and Home store in Manistee said they haven't dealt with customers purchasing ivermectin to treat COVID-19, and its only been purchased for its proper use. However, the employee stated that a news release was sent out earlier by the company warning all Family Farm and Home store workers to be wary of customers attempting to purchase the horse dewormer to prevent and/or treat COVID-19.

Another Family Farm and Home store in Gladwin said it hasn't encountered this issue, either.

Multiple reports of patients treated or hospitalized after "self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses" prompted the FDA to give a statement. "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the agency tweeted.

The most effective ways to limit the spread of coronavirus include getting the vaccination and following current CDC guidance. Your health care provider can help determine the best option for you, according to the FDA.