September 24, 2021

Why You Shouldn’t Use Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19

Middle aged woman wearing a mask outside while looking at her smartphone

While great progress has been made in the fight against COVID-19, millions of people around the U.S. still have the disease or are at risk of getting it. This is especially true with the rise of the delta variant and the potential for other variations to develop.

Consequently, while it’s always best to get information on disease prevention and treatment from your doctor, it’s not surprising that some people are turning to other sources. Unfortunately, some of those non-medical sources are promoting the use of ivermectin, a drug primarily prescribed by veterinarians to rid animals of parasites. And as the statistics show, calls to Poison Control Centers around the U.S. related to ivermectin use have increased dramatically in recent months.

Very specific formulations and doses of ivermectin are sometimes used in human patients topically (on the skin) or in pill form to treat certain parasitic worms, rosacea, and head lice. However, it’s important to note: 

Ivermectin is NOT approved to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans or animals. 

In addition, there is no data currently available that shows the drug is effective against COVID-19. 

Don’t take a chance with your health.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection and end the pandemic. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, but it can help protect you from serious illness. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and make a vaccination appointment at a location near you. 

Summary of Medically Validated Facts About Ivermectin

  • Taking ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 is dangerous, especially in the large doses designed to treat farm animals like horses and cows.
  • You should never take—or give to someone else—a medication designed to treat an animal for any condition. Animal medications typically are very different from those designed to treat humans, even if the medication names are similar or the same. 
  • If your licensed healthcare provider prescribes ivermectin for you for a treatable condition like parasitic worms, you must take it exactly as prescribed and not let others take your medication for any reason. 
  • As noted above, the FDA hasn’t authorized ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals and hasn’t found any evidence that it is effective for those purposes.  

How Can Taking Veterinary-Grade Ivermectin Affect Humans?

Ivermectin intended for use in animals can cause many serious health problems, including:

  • Death
  • Coma
  • Allergic reactions like hives and itching
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ataxia (balance problems)
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unsafe interactions with prescribed blood-thinners

People who take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 risk all of these medical issues with no evidence showing the medication is effective for that purpose. 

Save Time and Start Your COVID-19 Test Online

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or had been exposed to COVID-19, Baptist Health is able to see you virtually, diagnose and order a COVID-19 test to the urgent care closest to you. Learn more and get started now.

There Are Safe and Effective Medications for Preventing and Treating COVID-19

Using ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 is both unwise and unnecessary. The three approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective when it comes to keeping you from contracting the illness, and even more effective at preventing the need for hospital care. 

For those who contract COVID-19 and become seriously ill, there are antiviral drugs that have been tested and approved for treating the disease. 

Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 and Avoid Unapproved Medications

When it comes to COVID-19, the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you is get vaccinated as soon as possible. The process is free and efficient at Baptist Health. And once you’re fully vaccinated, your risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is very low. 

Don’t risk serious side effects, including death, from taking any unapproved drug for COVID-19 or any other disease or condition. It’s just not worth it, especially when tested and approved medications are readily available.

Next Steps and Useful Resources:

Schedule Your Vaccine Appointment
Start Your COVID-19 Test Online
Treating and Managing Long COVID Symptoms
What to Know About COVID-19 Breakthrough Cases
COVID-19 Variants Explained

Learn More.