People are taking dangerous doses of an antiparasitic drug as a COVID-19 treatment, even though there is no solid evidence that it has any benefit for the disease.
The drug, called ivermectin, is often used to treat or prevent parasitic diseases in animals, such as heartworms, according to Food and Drug Administration. In humans, some form of the drug is used to treat parasitic worms, and a topical version of it is sometimes used to treat head lice.
But recently, misinformation about ivermectin has led some to take the drug for COVID-19, even though it is not approved for this use. The idea of using ivermectin for COVID-1
Some people take veterinary forms of the drug because these formulations are easier to get than those prescribed to humans according to Washington Post.
It can have dangerous consequences: Veterinary forms of the drug intended for large animals, such as horses and cows, come in very large doses, which according to the FDA can be very toxic to humans. The agency says it has received several reports of people being hospitalized after self-medication with a form of ivermectin intended for horses.
In humans, overdoses of the drug can cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, seizures, coma and even death, says the FDA. And even smaller doses of the veterinary drug can pose risks. This is because many inactive ingredients in animal medicine have not been studied for use in humans, and these inactive ingredients can pose risks and affect how the substance is metabolized in humans, the FDA says.
Research on ivermectin continues, and the National Institutes of Health may investigate the drug as part of a clinical trial of recycling older drugs to treat COVID-19, according to Post. (However, the inclusion of ivermectin in this trial has not been confirmed, the record reported.)
Meanwhile, the FDA warns that taking a drug for unauthorized use can be dangerous and that people should never take drugs intended for animals.
Originally published on WordsSideKick.com.