I’m going to say this right now: if you’re thinking about taking one of your pet’s heartworm medication because you believe it will protect you from COVID-19, STOP IT. It’s not meant for humans for a reason.
Federal and state officials issued statements this week warning people not to take heartworm prevention medicine like Heartgard, one of the name brands that features the ingredient ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites. Ivermectin can also be used to treat head lice and scabies in humans.
INBOX: State officials are warning against taking animal heartworm pills for “prevention or treatment of COVID-19.” pic.twitter.com/Kp7H5QKm0V
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) April 15, 2020
The reason this unusual warning was issued is because of a pre-publication paper for the journal Antiviral Research. The paper observed how coronavirus responded to ivermectin when exposed in a petri dish.
“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,” the FDA said. “These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people. People should not take any form of ivermectin unless it has been prescribed to them by a licensed health care provider and is obtained through a legitimate source.”
Michigan Humane’s veterinary clinics are currently operating on a limited basis to limit the spread of COVID-19.