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CVM asks for help in stopping misuse of ivermectin for COVID-19

Poison control centers seeing sharp spike in people suffering adverse health effects from using drug.

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is asking veterinarians and retailers of animal health products for helping stop people from using formulations of the drug ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.

In a letter, CVM said many recent news stories and a Health Alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that poison control centers across the U.S. are seeing a sharp spike in reports of people suffering adverse health effects after taking animal ivermectin.

“People are purchasing various highly concentrated animal ivermectin drug formulations such as ‘pour-on,’ injectable, paste, and ‘drench’ that are intended for horses, cattle, and sheep, and taking these drugs has made some people very sick,” wrote Dr. Steven Solomon, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Even if animal drugs have the same active ingredient as an approved human drug, animal drugs have not been evaluated for safety or effectiveness in humans, he explained. “Treating human medical conditions with veterinary drugs can be very dangerous. The drug may not work at all, or it could worsen the illness and/or lead to serious, potentially life-threatening health complications. People should not take products approved for veterinary use, ‘for research only,’ or otherwise not for human consumption.”

Solomon is asking for help in sharing important safety information about the misuse of animal ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in people.

Additionally, CVM said it is hearing of reports of decreased availability of certain animal ivermectin products in certain regions of the country. Veterinarians or animal caretakers who are having difficulty obtaining the drug for animal use are encouraged to report this by e-mailing [email protected]

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