CDC warns against the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19

On Thursday, Aug. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Health Alert Network advisory warning that people should not use Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.

While Ivermectin is FDA-approved to treat certain infections caused by parasites, it has not been proven to prevent or treat COVID-19.

You can learn about the current approved treatments for COVID-19 on the CDC website.

The dangers of non-prescription ivermectin use

Ivermectin misuse is increasing, as shown by a rise in calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses and more people experiencing adverse effects.

In some cases, people have ingested ivermectin-containing products purchased without a prescription, including topical formulations and veterinary products. Veterinary formulations can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. People who take inappropriately high doses of ivermectin above FDA-recommended dosing may experience toxic effects.

  • Signs and symptoms of ivermectin toxicity include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, increased heart rate (tachycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), visual hallucinations, altered mental status, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, central nervous system depression, and seizures.
  • Ivermectin may also increase the sedative effects of other medications such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

You can learn more about the dangers of using veterinary ivermectin products on the FDA website.

CDC recommendations for clinicians

The CDC recommends that clinicians be aware that ivermectin is not currently authorized or approved by FDA for treatment of COVID-19, and that there are currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Please educate patients about the risks of:

  • Using ivermectin without a prescription,
  • Ingesting ivermectin formulations that are meant for external use, and
  • Ingesting ivermectin-containing products formulated for veterinary use.

Advise patients to immediately seek medical treatment if they have taken any ivermectin or ivermectin-containing products and are experiencing toxic effects.

CDC recommendations for the public

Do not swallow ivermectin products that should be used on skin (e.g., lotions and creams) or are not meant for human use, such as veterinary ivermectin products.

Seek immediate medical attention or call the poison control center hotline (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have taken ivermectin or a product that contains ivermectin and are having symptoms of ivermectin toxicity.

Get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19.