Ivermectin and COVID-19 | FDA

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One of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s jobs is to carefully evaluate the scientific data on a drug to be sure that it is both safe and effective for a particular use. 

There continues to be interest in a drug called ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans. The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. 

For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. For animals, certain pour-on, injectable, paste, chewable, and “drench” ivermectin products are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. 

The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalization, after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for animals. 

Here’s What You Need to Know 

The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. 
The FDA has determined that currently available clinical trial data do not demonstrate that ivermectin is effective against COVID 19 in humans. 
Animal ivermectin products are different formulations than those approved for humans. Due to the lack of testing of these formulations in humans, the safety of these products in humans is not known. Never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people.
Taking large doses of ivermectin can be dangerous.
From the FDA’s perspective, with few exceptions, health care professionals may choose to prescribe or use an approved human drug for an unapproved use when they judge that the unapproved use is medically appropriate for an individual patient. If your health care provider writes you an ivermectin prescription, fill it through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy. 
How is Ivermectin Used?

Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. In addition, some topical forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea. 

Some forms of animal ivermectin are approved to prevent heartworm disease and treat certain internal and external parasites in animals. It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people, and safe only when used in animals as labeled or as prescribed. 

The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 in people or animals. The FDA has not determined that ivermectin is safe or effective for these indications (uses).

When Can Taking Ivermectin Be Unsafe?

You may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. Taking large doses of ivermectin can be dangerous.

Even doses of ivermectin for approved human uses can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. You can also overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.

Lowering Your Risk from COVID-19 

Current CDC guidance provides practical recommendations and information to help people lower risk from a range of common respiratory viral illnesses, including COVID-19.

Talk to your health care provider about available COVID-19 vaccines and treatment options. Your provider can help determine the best option for you, based on your health history. 

 

Content current as of:
04/05/2024