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State Health Officials: Don't Take Anti-Parasitic For Animals To Treat COVID-19

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FILE PHOTO: Annie Ropeik
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IPB News

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box and Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsey Weaver shut down misinformation Friday that an antibiotic to treat animals could be used against COVID-19.

Ivermectin is used to treat infections caused by roundworms, threadworms, and other parasites. It is not a drug to treat viruses.

Weaver said studies have been conducted and ivermectin has not proven to be beneficial.

"Do not go and take a medicine that is not prescribed to you and there’s not evidence that … it could help you. Because it could actually harm you," Weaver said.

READ MORE: How Is Indiana Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Ivermectin is sold most commonly in feed stores for large animals and for household pets. Some forms of the medication are available by prescription for humans to treat parasitic worms as well as a topical medicine to treat headlice and even rosacea. 

Box said there have been call increases nationwide to poison control lines for people getting very sick as a result of taking the anti-parasitic.

"Don’t take a medicine that is prescribed for animals – especially large animals – that has not been proven to affect a virus or disease," Box said.

Potential side effects in clinical studies for ivermectin include loss of consciousness, vomiting, seizure and coma.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.