Some people are using livestock deworming drug to treat COVID-19

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A recent trend sending people to farm stores for a COVID treatment is causing doctors to speak up.

It’s called Ivermectin. The drug is most commonly given to livestock as an antiparasitic, but people are now buying the product for themselves in an effort to stay protected from COVID.

Using Ivermectin for COVID is not recommended by the FDA and isn’t proven to be effective. But that’s not stopping the product from flying off shelves. 

Chase Robinson with Farmer’s Association Greenbrier has seen the frenzy firsthand as people stock up on any product that contains the drug.

“Even keeping it in stock has been a challenge,” Robinson explained. “Regardless of whether that’s in a liquid form or a paste, they’ll buy it.”

He says most customers have been very candid in admitting they’re taking the drug themselves, with some even buying baskets of the product to give to family and friends.

Robinson says customers tell him they use a syringe to get the product out of the jar, then stir it in their morning coffee or orange juice daily. But pharmacists warn people to use this correctly.

Dr. Kimberly Haverstick, assistant director of pharmacy with UAMS says the fight to treat COVID has led to some interesting options, Ivermectin being one of them.

“Normally we use it in animals as a deworming agent,” Haverstick explained.

She adds the product is not currently approved by the FDA to treat COVID and taking a dosage meant for a large farm animal could be dangerous.

“That is not how Ivermectin should be taken,” explained UAMS pharmacy student Leah Ward Winchester, who has studied the drug’s connection to COVID. “It should be taken based off of your weight.”

Winchester in a recent presentation cites ongoing studies conducted to determine how effective the drug is against COVID. But these studies are being done with the proper doses and ingredients meant for humans, not things found in farm stores.

UAMS recommends speaking with your doctor before trying any new medication, including ivermectin.

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