CVM urges veterinarians and retailers to spread public awareness surrounding misuse of ivermectin to treat COVID-19
The FDA's CVM is asking veterinarians and animal care retailers to educate people on the harms of using this animal drug to ultimately, help prevent more people from falling ill.
As reported in several recent news stories including a Health Alert1 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poison control centers nationwide are noticing a surge in people experiencing adverse health effects and becoming severely sick after taking animal ivermectin.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is ongoingly concerned with people utilizing animal formulations of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 and is urging veterinarians and retailers to spread public awareness about the dangerous effects this drug has on humans.
According to a CVM Letter,2 People are buying various highly concentrated animal ivermectin drug formulations including “pour-on,” injectable, paste, and “drench” that are intended for horses, cattle, and sheep.
Though some animal drugs have the same active ingredient as an approved human drug, animal drugs have not been evaluated for human safety or effectiveness. Using veterinary drugs for human conditions can be dangerous as the drug may be completely infective or could worsen the illness and/or lead to serious, potentially life-threatening health complications.2 Additionally, humans should not take drugs approved for veterinary use, “for research only,” or otherwise not for human consumption.
To help veterinarians and retailers inform the public, the CVM has created a downloadable sign to pass out or post at a place of business that helps elucidate the perils of taking this drug for human use.
In certain parts of the country, there has been limited availability of animal ivermectin products. If you are a veterinarian or animal caretaker and are struggling to obtain this drug for animal use, the CVM suggests emailing: AnimalDrugShortages@fda.hhs.gov.
To help protect public health, the CVM also asks that you report any animal drug advertising/animal ivermectin products with statements about preventing or treating COVID-19 by emailing: FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov or calling 1-888-InfoFDA (1-888-463-6332).
- Rapid increase in ivermectin prescriptions and reports of severe illness associated with use of products containing ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. CDC Health Advisory. https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2021/pdf/CDC_HAN_449.pdf. Published August 26, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021.
- CVM letter to veterinarians and retailers: Help stop misuse of animal ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in humans. US Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/cvm-letter-veterinarians-and-retailers-help-stop-misuse-animal-ivermectin-prevent-or-treat-covid-19. Published August 30, 2021. Accessed August 31, 2021.