FDA warns against using animal parasite medicine as at-home COVID-19 treatment

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the public against using the animal parasite medicine ivermectin to treat a COVID-19 infection at home. 

You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it,” the agency said on Twitter, along with an article explaining why ivermectin shouldn’t be used to treat the coronavirus.

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The article explained that although ivermectin can be prescribed to humans, the medication is for certain conditions and cannot be taken in high doses.

Ivermectin found over the counter is for animals such as horses and is used to deworm them. In addition, the FDA said the concentration of ivermectin for animals is much different than for humans.

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 stated.

Many inactive ingredients found in animal products aren’t evaluated for use in people. Or they are included in much greater quantity than those used in people. In some cases, we don’t know how those inactive ingredients will affect how ivermectin is absorbed in the human body,” the FDA continued.

The warning from the agency comes amid multiple reports of people who have been hospitalized after using ivermectin for animals to try to treat a coronavirus infection. 

Mississippi health officials recently warned hospitals of a spike in calls to the state’s poison control center due to individuals using ivermectin made for animals to treat the coronavirus.