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Ivermectin as FDA Warns Against Using the Drug for Covid-19 Treatment

Source: Bloomberg / Getty

Ivermectin is dominating the headlines these days, with contorversial podcast host Joe Rogan claiming that he used it in a cocktail of drugs when he found out he had COVID-19 among others who’ve been buying up boxes of the stuff.

This mass of people spurred on by right-wing figures and conspiracy theorists have chosen to take it as opposed to the free, tested and vetted vaccines that have been available. For those who don’t fully know what Ivermectin is, here’s a quick explainer for clarity.

What Is Ivermectin and What Does It Do?

Ivermectin is a drug that’s part of the class of anthelmintic medications, which are substances that help the body purge itself of worms and other internal parasites. It commonly can be found in paste or tablet form, but can also be utilized as lotions or creams. Those who own horses and cattle regularly use it to get rid of parasitic worms in those animals because these animals commonly will eat contaminated grass that has these parasitic eggs by the hundreds.

A form of ivermectin is approved for human use. This version is used to treat river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in humans, which consists of worms in the body that show no symptoms unless the person develops extreme swelling of the limbs. Ivermectin is also commonly used to treat infection by mites, commonly known as “scabies”.

So What’s The Issue?

To begin with, COVID-19 is classified as a virus, which is more of a microscopic infectious agent and not a bacteria that creates parasitic worms. In addition, the “horse paste” version of ivermectin many have rushed to take is not the version recommended for human consumption. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning back in March against people taking the dewormer, specifically pointing out that the drug is not approved by the group to treat COVID-19. Many have purchased ivermectin because they distrust what the COVID vaccines consist of. But Merck, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company that also makes ivermectin issued a statement recently about this rise in use:

These equine versions have been flying off the shelves at stores that come in high dosages that the human body can’t properly digest because horses and cattle have multiple stomachs as part of their complex digestive system. Ivermectin use in these high doses can cause liver damage, dangerous spikes in blood pressure, and diarrhea along with loss of bowel control. Hospitalizations due to improper usage of ivermectin have gone up in the past couple of weeks, which has prompted the Center For Disease Control to issue a more detailed warning against people taking it.

In short – stay away from the horse paste.

As always, if you suspect that you may have COVID-19, please take the steps to get tested swiftly and avail yourself of proper medical treatment by trusted healthcare professionals.

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