The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in early April that ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, should not be used in the treatment of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The drug is approved by the FDA to prevent heartworm disease in some small animals and to treat certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. Ivermectin tablets are approved for use in humans to treat some parasitic worms, and ivermectin topical formulations are approved for use in humans to treat certain external parasites and skin conditions.
A recent prepublication report scheduled for publication in the journal Antiviral Research suggested that ivermectin inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in vitro. However, additional extensive testing is required to determine whether ivermectin is safe or effective to prevent or treat the virus.
“People should not take any form of ivermectin unless it has been prescribed to them by a licensed health care provider and is obtained through a legitimate source,” the FDA said in a letter to stakeholders.
The FDA has established a task force to monitor for fraudulent treatments and prevention products for SARS-CoV-2.