Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Do not take a horse dewormer to treat your COVID-19, health officials say

Story at a glance

  • The Food and Drug Administration says it has received several reports of people requiring hospitalization after “self-medicating with Ivermectin intended for horses.”
  • Health officials are warning the public that Ivermectin intended for humans and medication used in livestock are significantly different.
  • Toxic levels of Ivermectin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and possible death.

Health officials are warning Americans that an antiparasitic drug used for livestock should not be ingested to treat or prevent COVID-19. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has received several reports of people requiring hospitalization after “self-medicating with Ivermectin intended for horses.”

Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat humans for parasitic worms as well as for topical formulations to treat head lice and skin conditions like rosacea, but the drug has not been approved or recommended to treat COVID-19. The drug is not an antiviral medication. 

Health officials say Ivermectin intended for humans and medication intended for use in livestock is significantly different. 


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“For one thing, animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do—a ton or more. Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans,” the FDA said

“Moreover, FDA reviews drugs not just for safety and effectiveness of the active ingredients, but also for inactive ingredients. Many inactive ingredients found in animal products aren’t evaluated for use in people,” the agency said.  

The message from the FDA follows a recent alert from Mississippi health officials regarding an increasing number of calls to the state’s poison control center from people who have ingested Ivermectin meant for livestock to treat COVID-19. 

According to the FDA, toxic levels of Ivermectin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and possible death. 


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