The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public against the use of a veterinary medicine called Ivermectin as treatment for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In an advisory, the FDA said that Ivermectin was only approved for use in animals through “oral and intravenous preparations.”
The agency said that the medicine is being used to prevent heartworm disease and treatment of internal and external parasites in certain animal species.
“The drug is an important part of a parasite control program for some animal species and should only be administered according to its approved indication, or as prescribed by a duly licensed veterinarian,” the FDA said.
“The public is warned against taking animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and efficacy in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans can cause serious harm. Animal drugs are often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans,” it added.
The FDA noted that the “registered Ivermectin products in the country for human use are in topical formulations under prescription use only.” This means it can only be applied in the human skin and is not being taken orally.
“This is used for the treatment of external parasites such as head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea,” it said.
It said Ivermectin was not approved by the FDA “for treatment of any viral infection.”
“Any use of Ivermectin veterinary products for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 should be avoided as the benefits and safety for this purpose has not been established,” it said.