Unapproved drug use dangerous: USFDA warns against Ivermectin misinformation in Covid-19
"Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous and can cause serious harm," the FDA warned.
San Francisco: As various social media platforms like Facebook and Reddit face waves of misinformation about the use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat Covid-19, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a fresh advisory to consumers, explaining why people shouldn't take it to treat or prevent the deadly respiratory disease.
The FDA said that it is perhaps not surprising that some consumers are looking at unconventional treatments, not approved or authorised by it.
"There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin to treat humans with Covid-19. FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans," the US agency said in its latest consumer update.
Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).
"Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm," the FDA warned.
People in Facebook groups have also been sharing misinformation and making sponsored posts that promote and advertise ivermectin for treating or preventing Covid-19, reports The Verge.
According to a company spokesperson, Facebook removes content "that attempts to buy, sell, donate or ask for ivermectin".
Still, people are dodging Facebook moderation by using euphemisms like "ivm" or "moo juice" for ivermectin.
On Reddit, moderators of several subreddits called on the platform to take action against Covid-19 misinformation.
Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that the company will take action when people promote fraud or encourage harm.
On TikTok, Rolling Stone found videos, some of which had more than a million views, promoting ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment under tags like #ivermectin4covid and #ivermectinworks.
TikTok has since removed the videos for violating community guidelines and blocked the tags.
The FDA said that it has not reviewed data to support use of ivermectin in patients to treat or to prevent Covid-19.
"However, some initial research is underway. Taking a drug for an unapproved use can be very dangerous. This is true of ivermectin, too. There's a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it's okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong," the FDA noted.