Ivermectin Intended for Animals: FDA Warns – Do Not Use in Humans as a Treatment for COVID-19


April 10, 2020

Audience: Consumer, Health Professional, Pharmacy, Veterinary

ISSUE: FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans

BACKGROUND: The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has recently become aware of increased public visibility of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin after the announcement of a research article that described the effect of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting. The Antiviral Research pre-publication paper, “The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro”  documents how SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) responded to ivermectin when exposed in a petri dish. 

Ivermectin is FDA-approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. 


  • People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular animal species for which they are labeled. These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people.
  • People should not take any form of ivermectin unless it has been prescribed by a licensed health care provider and is obtained through a legitimate source.
  • Ivermectin is an important part of a parasite control program for certain species and should only be given to animals for approved uses or as prescribed by a veterinarian in compliance with the requirements for extra-label drug use.
  • If you are having difficulty locating a particular ivermectin product for your animal(s), FDA recommends that you consult with your veterinarian.

Please help us protect public health by alerting FDA of anyone claiming to have a product to prevent or cure COVID-19 and to help safeguard human and animal health by reporting any of these products to FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov  or 1-888-InfoFDA (1-888-463-6332).

Source: FDA

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