August 30, 2021
Dear Veterinarians and Retailers of Animal Health Products,
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has continued concerns that there are people using animal formulations of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans.
As noted in many recent news stories and in a Health Alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poison control centers across the United States are seeing a sharp spike in reports of people suffering adverse health effects after taking animal ivermectin. People are purchasing various highly concentrated animal ivermectin drug formulations such as “pour-on,” injectable, paste, and “drench” that are intended for horses, cattle, and sheep, and taking these drugs has made some people very sick.
Even if animal drugs have the same active ingredient as an approved human drug, animal drugs have not been evaluated for safety or effectiveness in humans. Treating human medical conditions with veterinary drugs can be very dangerous. The drug may not work at all, or it could worsen the illness and/or lead to serious, potentially life-threatening health complications. People should not take products approved for veterinary use, “for research only,” or otherwise not for human consumption.
We are asking for your help in sharing important safety information about the misuse of animal ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 in people. To assist you, we have developed a sign that is available for download if you’d like to pass it out or post it at your place of business to remind people about the dangers of treating themselves with animal ivermectin.
CVM is hearing of reports of decreased availability of certain animal ivermectin products in certain regions of the country. If you are a veterinarian or animal caretaker who is having difficulty obtaining this drug for animal use, please let us know by emailing AnimalDrugShortages@fda.hhs.gov.
Please help us protect public health by reporting any animal drug advertising/animal ivermectin products with claims about preventing or curing COVID-19 by emailing FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov or calling 1-888-InfoFDA (1-888-463-6332).
We thank you for your help and cooperation with this urgent safety issue. CVM is hopeful that we can work together to prevent more people being harmed from taking animal drugs.
Please stay safe and healthy.
Dr. Steven Solomon
Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine