The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has received multiple reports of patients erroneously attempting to treat COVID-19 with an ivermectin drug used to deworm livestock.
The FDA says several people have been hospitalized after taking this version of ivermectin, and sent out a tweet and corresponding post to highlight the situation.
There is a less concentrated version of ivermectin that is prescribed for people, but it’s only used for treating parasitic worms and has not been approved by the FDA for treating or preventing COVID-19, the organization wrote in a post.
“Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm,” the FDA wrote. “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.”
The FDA stressed several times that ivermectin is not a drug that should be used to prevent or treat COVID-19. “There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong,” the post continued.
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The news comes as the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, criticized the role of social media in spreading COVID-19 misinformation on Sunday.
“I am hopeful this approval will help increase confidence in our vaccine, as vaccination remains the best tool we have to help protect lives and achieve herd immunity,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
The CDC joined in said that there has been a “rapid increase” in overdoses of ivermectin.