Three major American medical groups would like everyone to please stop taking ivermectin, a drug often used for deworming livestock, in an attempt to prevent symptoms of COVID-19.
“The American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) strongly oppose the ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial,” the groups said in a shared statement (boldface emphasis theirs).
“We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months,” the statement says.
All three groups called on physicians and pharmacists to immediately stop prescribing and dispensing ivermectin to human patients and “to warn patients against the use of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance.”
The “horse paste” drug is typically used to get rid of parasites in animals, particularly in cattle and horses. It also comes in pill form but has been reportedly easier to procure as a paste.
“Veterinary forms of this medication are highly concentrated for large animals and pose a significant toxicity risk for humans,” the groups warned. Taken by humans unsupervised by medical professionals, the drug can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death.
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, ivermectin has became an unlikely fixation for some looking for alternative to the vaccines to prevent illness. It’s been hyped by right-wing talking heads, including Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan and Laura Ingraham, with seemingly no regard to the influence their massive platforms may have on the public.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Food and Drug Administration, have already warned against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. (“COVID-19. We’ve been living with it for what sometimes seems like forever,” the FDA acknowledged in a weary post on its website.)
The World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and Merck, which manufactures ivermectin, all say there is not enough evidence to suggest ivermectin does anything to help prevent or treat COVID-19, despite misinformation that proliferates on social media.
Health experts ― the kind who practice on humans ― agree that the best way to prevent yourself from catching the virus is to get vaccinated, wear a face mask and stay out of crowds.