Despite multiple advisories against the use of the horse parasite treatment drug, Ivermectin, it still has some avid supporters.
In a blog post, Scott Alexander writes, “In a world where scientists seemed like hostile aliens, I would hesitate to take the vaccine. Again, ivermectin optimism isn’t exactly like vaccine denialism – it’s a less open-and-shut question, you can still make a plausible argument for it.
But it’s some of the same people and follows the same dynamics. If we want to make people more willing to get vaccines, or less willing to take ivermectin, we have to make the scientific establishment feel less like an enclave of hostile aliens to half the population.”
Ivermectin is popularly known as a horse de-wormer. Certain animal formulations of ivermectin such as pour-on, injectable, paste, and “drench,” are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals.
For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
However, the FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalization, after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for livestock.
Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms.
In addition, some topical forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea.
Some forms of animal ivermectin are approved to prevent heartworm disease and treat certain internal and external parasites. These products are different from the ones for people, and safe only when used in animals as prescribed.
The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.
Currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19. Clinical trials assessing ivermectin tablets for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in people are ongoing.
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