The fear and uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 global pandemic can sometimes lead people down a dangerous path of experimentation. The resurgence of the virus in the form of the Delta variant has many doubling down on ulterior “treatments.” One such treatment is in the form of a drug called ivermectin which is often used in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. It can be found in some dewormers meant for horses and livestock. But there have been many reports recently of patients who have required medical attention and even hospitalization after attempting to self-medicate with ivermectin in doses meant for horses.
Dr. Paul Richardson, Chief Medical Officer for Conway Medical Center is encouraging the community to be aware and only partake in treatments approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “It is unbelievably dangerous for people to try to treat themselves with unproven and potentially dangerous substances,” cautioned Dr. Richardson. “If you are concerned about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, which is now FDA approved, then why in the world would you take something else completely unrelated to COVID that is in no way approved by the FDA?”
It is the job of the FDA to carefully evaluate the scientific data on a drug to be sure that it is both safe and effective for a particular use and then to decide whether or not to approve it. Using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm. The FDA has not reviewed data nor approved ivermectin for its use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin is not an antiviral drug and does not treat viruses.
Dr. Richardson stresses that any insinuation that ivermectin is okay to take in large doses is wrong. “As humans, we absolutely should not take any medicine meant for a horse or cow, or any animal for that matter.” You can overdose on this drug causing many dangerous side effects, including seizures and death. Not to mention that ivermectin can interact with other medications like blood thinners which present their own dangers.
“The most effective ways to continue to protect yourself from COVID-19 and increase your chances of fighting the virus are wearing your mask, washing your hands frequently, and getting your COVID-19 vaccine,” reiterates Dr. Richardson. “You’re not going to take the medicine you give your dog to treat heartworms. There are some things we just don’t do. So, please, do not find yourself in our hospital because you took medicine meant for a horse.”