(FiveNation.com)- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is urging people to not take a drug intended for livestock as a treatment for COVID-19.
Over the weekend, the FDA said people shouldn’t take Invermectin, which is a drug that was created to fight back worms that are parasitic to livestock. People have been taking the drug to either prevent or treat COVID-19.
According to a New York Times report, an increasing number of people in Mississippi have been taking the drug recently to ward off an infection of the coronavirus. That prompted the state’s Department of Health to issue a statement about the dangers of doing so, which the FDA echoed in statements following.
There were studies that were conducted in 2020 that inspired some people to take the drug to fight off COVID-19. The most prominent studies occurred in Latin America.
Back in February, the National Institutes of Health, though, said studies related to Invermectin as a treatment or prevention of COVID-19 “had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations.”
There were small sample sizes used in the studies, the NIH said, and the outcome measures were very unclear.
According to the Times’ report, more than two-thirds of all recent calls that were placed to the poison control center in Mississippi were related to “ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of Invermectin purchased at livestock supply centers,” the Department of Health said in a statement.
Of those who called to report ingestion of the drug, 85% reported having mild symptoms. The Times reported that one person was advised to “seek further evaluation” because they had ingested such a large amount of the drug.
The FDA also said it received a large number of reports that the same thing was going on in Louisiana. There, many people have “required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with Ivermectin intended for horses.”
The drug hasn’t been approved by any agency for use to treat or prevent COVID-19.
In a tweet, the FDA wrote recently:
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, some studies were promoting Invermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19. That prompted other studies to be conducted to look into the possibility that the drug could do just that.
However, these further studies found that the drug was not very effective at treating coronavirus. As such, the FDA hasn’t approved it for us against COVID-19.
People still turned to Invermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, though, because they were finding it easier to obtain than a prescription drug that is similar and treats tropical maladies in humans, according to an April Washington Post report.
In their recent released, the FDA said:
“Taking large doses of [Ivermectin] is dangerous and can cause serious harm … Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.”