• Authorities were warning people against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19
  • FDA warned people not to self-medicate with thz drug that was used for heartworms in animals
  • The FDA was closely monitoring fraudulent COVID-19 products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Michigan authorities were warning against taking pets' heartworm medicine for COVID-19. Ivermectin was reportedly the latest drug in the spotlight for the possible treatment or prevention of the coronavirus.

According to Michigan authorities, ivermectin recently gained attention due to a pre-publication paper that described how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reacted to ivermectin. The study was only done on a petri dish, not on humans or animals.

"As intriguing as the results may be, at this point, they mean little to nothing in the actual prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in either animals or humans," Michigan State Veterinarian Nora Wineland said in a statement. "Ivermectin sold for animals has not been evaluated for safety in species other than those listed on the label and may cause serious harm if taken by people."

The FDA also released a similar warning against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19, noting that people should not take it unless prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider.

To be clear, ivermectin tablets were approved for humans for the treatment of parasitic worms, while ivermectin topical treatments were approved by prescription-only for the treatment of external parasites such as headlice. In animals, ivermectin was approved for the prevention of heartworm as well as for treating certain parasites.

"FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans," the FDA said in a statement. "People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular animal species for which they are labeled. These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people."

Michigan chief medical executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun echoed the FDA's concerns.

"We understand Michiganders' concerns about COVID-19 and the desire to find a cure quickly," Khaldun said. "However, there are no approved preventive medications for COVID-19 in humans, and we do not want anyone being harmed by taking medications inappropriately. Staying home and practicing good public health practices like washing hands frequently, wearing a homemade mask if you must go out, and covering coughs and sneezes appropriately is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19."

The FDA established a cross-agency task force that was dedicated to monitoring fraudulent COVID-19 products, including those that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure COVID-19. People were urged to contact the FDA regarding anyone claiming to have such products.

coronavirus pets
Ivermectin gained attention due to a pre-publication paper that described how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, reacted to it. StockSnap - Pixabay