Across the U.S. there are reports of people using ivermectin prescribed for horses to try and prevent or treat COVID-19. This is right up there with swallowing bleach. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug; it does not work and can cause serious harm.
Infectious disease expert Bindu Balani, M.D., shares the ins and outs of ivermectin and why it should not be used to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Is ivermectin approved for use in humans?
Ivermectin can be prescribed to humans in tablet form to treat conditions caused by parasitic worms and in a topical form to treat external parasites like lice.
Reports from the FDA show people ingesting ivermectin doses in a paste form designated for horses, as well as doctors even prescribing the medication for COVID-19.
In a typical pre-pandemic setting, there are about 3,600 prescriptions filled for ivermectin in a year. From early July and August, the CDC reported over 88,000 prescriptions dispensed, a 2,344% increase.
“The stark increase in prescriptions for ivermectin is not a coincidence – this is an ‘off-label use of the drug. While ivermectin is approved for use in parasitic conditions, there has been no evidence or approval for use against COVID-19,” shares Dr. Balani.
Can ivermectin be used to treat COVID-19?
No, ivermectin is not approved or authorized by the FDA for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Some studies have been conducted to evaluate the drug’s efficacy against COVID-19. However, the data has been inconsistent, inconclusive, and too small to be considered high quality. There is no reliable evidence that ivermectin should be used for COVID-19.
What happens if you take ivermectin?
The side effects of ivermectin overdose can include:
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death
To sum up, here are three reasons why you should not use ivermectin to try to prevent COVID-19:
- Ivermectin is not proven to be effective for COVID-19.
- Using ivermectin not as it was intended can cause a variety of health risks, even death.
- You are not a horse or a cow and a large dose of ivermectin is highly toxic.
Resources: Hackensack Meridian Health & Bindu Balani, M.D.
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