Don't treat COVID-19 with ivermectin

Published August 25, 2021


picture of a patient laying in a hospital bed

Taking ivermectin, commonly used as a horse dewormer, for COVID-19 is a bad idea. Some people have needed hospitalization after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.

Ivermectin is not FDA-approved to treat COVID-19. Likewise, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends against taking the drug to treat COVID-19 outside clinical trials.

Dosage for humans is different than for horses

Never give ivermectin intended for animal use to humans. The doses for horses are highly concentrated, because horses are much larger than humans. These concentrated drugs can be highly toxic to humans.

Does ivermectin work?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been evaluating potential therapies to treat or prevent COVID-19. The NIH Guidelines Panel is a group of independent investigators that carefully review scientific evidence to guide their recommendations. There’s currently insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 by the NIH Guidelines Panel.

There have been some studies on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. But because most of these studies have significant limitations, the NIH Panel does not recommend its use.

One of the few preprints to find positive results was withdrawn after concerns about falsified patient records and plagiarism. 

Other treatments for COVID-19

Approved treatments for COVID-19 include remdesivir for hospitalized patients and monoclonal antibodies for outpatients

A new antiviral pill called molnupiravir is currently in clinical trials to evaluate its safety and efficacy.