The US FDA is warning against the use of animal medications for human COVID-19 infections after multiple people were hospitalized after taking ivermectin, a treatment intended for horses.
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“There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19,” the food and drug administration said in a statement on its website. “Ivermectin is often used in the US to treat or prevent parasites in animals.”
According to the statement, the drug has not been approved by the FDA for treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans and it is not an anti-viral drug.
Ivermectin has been approved by the FDA to treat people with conditions caused by parasitic worms.
“Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea,” the FDA explained.
The animal forms of the drug are used to “prevent heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites,” according to the statement. “It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people, and safe when used as prescribed for animals, only.”
The FDA confirmed that “some initial research is underway” on using the drug for treating COVID-19 patients, however, the administration has not reviewed data to support the use.
The administration also said, “using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm.”