COVID-19

Stop Using Livestock Dewormer to Treat COVID-19, FDA Warns

The agency said it was forced to issue a warning in the consumption of ivermectin following "a lot of misinformation" around the drug

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging people to stop taking veterinary drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19 after receiving multiple reports of patients who have been hospitalized after "self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses," according to the federal agency.

"You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the FDA tweeted from its official account on Saturday, alongside a consumer update detailing why the drug can be unsafe for humans.

Ivermectin, which is not an anti-viral drug, is generally used to treat or prevent parasites in animals. Tablets and topical formulations approved for humans are meant to treat people with certain conditions caused by parasitic worms or used for head lice and skin conditions, and they are different from the drug used on animals.

Humans 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 agency said it was forced to issue a warning in the consumption of ivermectin following "a lot of misinformation" around the drug.

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