Posts on social media embracing the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 are misleading and go against the current recommendations of U.S. public health officials. At the time of this article’s publication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.
An image of the drug, commonly used as a de-wormer (here) for horses, is visible in Facebook posts. One can be seen here with the caption reading, in part, “Btw less than a hour after taking Ivermectin paste per my body weight I was mostly symptom free.... Was in bad shape until then! This shit works I don’t care what anyone else says.” Another user touting the use of the anti-parasitic said in a post visible here , “I posted that I’m taking ivermectin for protection from Covid. Several asked about how I was taking it. Several asked, how Much do you take? I’m using the liquid that you can get at Tractor Supply.”
Social media posts ( here , here ) show some stores sharing a warning label in response to people seeking the drug for COVID-19. “Ivermectin HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans and could cause severe personal injury or death,” read the signs in these posts.
According to Drugs.com (www.drugs.com/ivermectin.html) Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication. The substance has joined hydroxychloroquine as a potential ‘miracle cure’ for COVID-19 but scientific studies remain inconclusive and neither is currently recommended for treating COVID-19 by government health agencies.
Although clinical studies have demonstrated some positive results with countries like India turning to ivermectin during severe waves of infection (here ), other countries are still studying its treatment. A June 2021 Reuters report on a U.K. study (www.principletrial.org/) for COVID-19 treatment with ivermectin can be seen here .
In the U.S., a spokesperson at the Duke University Clinical Research Institute confirmed it is conducting a nationwide study of COVID-19 treatments for mild to moderate cases of disease. The ACTIV-6 study (dcri.org/activ-6-study/) will research Ivermectin (used to treat parasitic infections), Fluticasone (an inhaled steroid commonly prescribed for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and Fluvoxamine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), often prescribed for depression) for use as COVID-19 treatments.
Dr Adrian Hernandez, the study’s administrative principal investigator and executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, answered a question put to him over concerns about ivermectin use for COVID-19, seen here (15:41-16:27). Hernandez says that “(ivermectin) should only be used in the setting of a study,” adding that, “the clinical guidelines do not currently recommend ivermectin for care of COVID-19.”
An FDA frequently asked questions document (here) says that possible side-effects associated with ivermectin use include skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization, and liver injury.
“While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” it reads. “You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”
The FDA has not approved ivermectin (for emergency use or otherwise) for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans (here).
While research on ivermectin continues, individuals should exercise caution, as ingesting or taking drugs not prescribed by a doctor can be dangerous. This is especially the case with products intended for animal use.
Misleading. Human use of ivermectin formulated for animals is not recommended. Ivermectin is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for COVID-19. At the time of publication, studies are ongoing.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.