The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging people to stop using the veterinary drug Ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19 after receiving multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized from self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” said the FDA in a Tweet Saturday afternoon.
Ivermectin is generally used to treat or prevent parasites in animals.
While Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms, some forms of ivermectin are used in animals to prevent heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites.
However, the products used to treat animals are different from the ones for people.
“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.”
Patients who overdose with ivermectin can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and even death, according to the FDA.
The FDA stressed that no form of the ivermectin drug has been approved by the agency for use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans.