ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — A veterinarian is warning people to not use a medicine routinely used on livestock and pets to treat COVID-19. Ivermectin, a de-wormer for animals, seems to be the new go-to drug for folks who want to protect themselves from the virus.
“It is not safe,” says veterinarian Dr. Daniele Bercier. “It is for your horse and your cow and your dog.”
But every version of the drug at your local feed and seed store is flying off the shelf. Folks like Rob Breckner are buying it.
“Being healthy and following a good diet is going to help you fight Covid and keep your immune system strong. There is also Ivermectin as well. You can use that as a prophylactic also use it if you have Covid, it knocks out the virus in three to four days,” Breakner said.
Breckner says he looked into the drug after having COVID-19 earlier this year and was prescribed the version made for humans.
The World Health Organization says current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive, and until more data is available, WHO recommends the drug only be used within clinical trials.
“The pharmaceutical was a human oral version capsule, pills,” Breakner said. Now, he gets a liquid version at the local feed store despite the warnings.
“It’s topical. It’s nothing different than if you were applying hand sanitizer. So you put it on your body and it’s gone within a couple of minutes,” Breakner said.
It’s a practice veterinarians and other medical professionals warn against.
“People get scared and they make rash decisions. Please don’t make rash decisions and put your life in jeopardy,” says USA’s Chief Nursing Officer Natalie Fox. “Talk to your health care provider about treatment options that are right for you.”
The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. 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).
Ivermectin is the option Breckner chooses, “I have no interest in taking a vaccine nor will I ever take a vaccine.” No matter what critics say, “Why in the world would you pick up something that is labeled for a cow and start taking it,” Bercier asks.
Public health experts say the best defense against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Other effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 continue to be to wear your mask, stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you, wash hands frequently, and avoid crowds, according to the Centers for Disease Control.