The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health alert warning physicians and the public about the rise in prescriptions for the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for use in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The CDC also cautioned about the risk of severe illness caused by ivermectin, which was seen in increased calls to poison centers.
Current NIH Treatment Guidelines state that there is insufficient evidence to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 outside of clinical trials. This recommendation is consistent with the Infectious Disease Society of America’s Guidelines on the Treatment and Management of Patients with COVID-19, which suggests against the use of ivermectin in hospitalized patients and ambulatory persons with COVID-19, outside of the context of a clinical trial. Additionally, there is no evidence to suggest that ivermectin can prevent you from becoming infected with COVID-19.
After receiving multiple reports of people who have been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for animals, the FDA recently reminded the public that:
- FDA has not approved or issued an Emergency Use Authorization for ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral.
- Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm.
- If you have a prescription for ivermectin for an FDA-approved use, get it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed.
- Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.