- What is ivermectin?
Ivermectin is a drug that is often used in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. Ivermectin tablets are sometimes used at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms in humans, and there are also topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. It is NOT intended for use as an anti-viral drug in either humans or animals.
- Is ivermectin approved by the FDA as a treatment for COVID-19?
No. The FDA has NOT approved the use of this drug for treating COVID-19 or any other viruses in humans. In fact, the FDA confirmed it has not reviewed data to support the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients to treat or prevent COVID-19; however, initial research is underway.
- Are ivermectin products for animals the same as the form of the drug used in humans?
No. These are entirely different products. Drugs for animals are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses, for example. Such high doses can be very toxic in humans.
- What can happen if I take the wrong form or the wrong dosage of ivermectin?
The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses. Taking large doses of this drug can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Even the levels of ivermectin for approved uses for humans can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. It is possible to overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and even death.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an increase in calls to poison control centers reporting overdose and more people experiencing adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse.
- What if I have a prescription for ivermectin for an FDA-approved use?
Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA only to treat people with certain intestinal conditions caused by parasitic worms. In addition, some topical forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea. If you have a prescription for an FDA-approved use of this drug, be sure to get it from a legitimate source in the appropriate formulation and dosage, and take it exactly as prescribed and only for the specific condition(s) being treated. Taking any drug for an unapproved use can be very dangerous, and this also applies to ivermectin.
- What are other possible treatment options for COVID-19?
Monoclonal antibody therapy is FDA-authorized for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with a mild or moderate case of COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful viruses. They are specifically designed to help block the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent the virus from further infecting healthy cells. Administered intravenously, this innovative treatment is designed to help lessen the severity of COVID-19 in individuals who are COVID-19-positive and are at risk for developing a severe form of the disease. Patients must meet specific clinical criteria, including having a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 that is mild or moderate; having underlying health conditions or > 65 years of age; and being stable enough not to require hospitalization. Ask your provider if you think you may be a candidate for this treatment.
- How can I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?
Getting vaccinated is the best form of protection against COVID-19. The vaccine greatly reduces the likelihood of someone contracting the virus, being hospitalized with a severe case of COVID-19 or dying. Additionally, wearing a mask, maintaining six feet of social distance between yourself and those not in your household, and practicing proper hand hygiene are all effective precautions to help reduce the spread of illness.