You are not a horse: FDA warns against use of Ivermectin for treating COVID
- Ivermectin has been repurposed as an anti-viral drug in many countries
- US health regulator warns its meant for use in humans only at specific doses
- There have been reports of people being hospitalised due to ivermectin overdose
US health regulator Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a fresh warning against the use of ivermectin and other veterinary drugs for treatment or prevention of COVID-19. FDA said it had received multiple reports of patients requiring medical support and hospitalisation after self-medicating with ivermectin, a drug "intended for horses."
"You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the FDA tweeted on Saturday.
Ivermectin has been repurposed as an anti-COVID-19 drug in several countries including India in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than" a human, the FDA said in a consumer update on its website. "Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans."
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Ivermectin overdose in humans can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, problems with balance, seizures, coma and even death.
The agency clarified that ivermectin tablets are approved at very "specific doses for some parasitic worms" and as topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
"Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm," FDA said, explaining that "ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans."
Even though some initial research on ivermectin's use in humans was "underway," there was no clarity on how "inactive ingredients will affect how ivermectin is absorbed in the human body."
FDA said the ivermectin warning was prompted by "a lot of misinformation" around the drug.
"You may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong," according to the FDA update. Coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 630,000 people in the US. The country's overall infection tally has crossed 37.6 million cases with a sharp spike over the past month due to the Delta variant.