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Medication for horses discouraged for human use against COVID-19

Ivermectin has caused some people to be hospitalized
Some people are turning to a medication intended for horses to treat COVID-19, and San Juan Regional Medical Center is advising against it. (Courtesy of San Juan Regional Medical Center)

FARMINGTON – After an uptick in reports to the Food and Drug Administration about patients who required medical treatment after trying an “unconventional treatment” for COVID-19 on themselves, San Juan Regional Medical Center is warning against one treatment in particular.

The treatment that is causing hospitalization is the use of the drug ivermectin, a medicine intended for horses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for more than a year now, and some people are taking it upon themselves to investigate unconventional treatments that are not authorized or approved by the FDA,” Laura Werbner, spokeswoman for San Juan Regional Medical Center, said in a news release.

This is not the first unconventional treatment people have tried in order to overcome COVID-19. From encouraging drinking hand sanitizer and bleach to herbal products like mushrooms and tinctures, the FDA has issued 177 warning letters to businesses selling products claiming to “prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure” COVID-19, according to the FDA’s website.

Werbner said ivermectin is not an antiviral drug, and taking large doses of the medication is dangerous and can cause serious harm. Ivermectin products for animals are different from ivermectin products for humans, and people should never use medication intended for animals on themselves, she said.

“San Juan Regional Medical Center warns our community about the dangers of using any treatment for COVID-19 that is not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless it’s part of a clinical trial,” Werbner said.

The most important thing to do is get the COVID-19 vaccine, Werbner said. People 12 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. People who want the vaccine must register online at vaccineNM.org.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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