Misinformation, Conspiracies About Ivermectin Spread Online and Offline

Ivermectin continues to be hailed as a miracle drug for COVID-19 on social media by influencers and commentators across the political spectrum. Some have speculated that the drug’s benefits are being suppressed or smeared to promote vaccination. Cases of people buying veterinary ivermectin and hospitalizations due to ingestion of livestock ivermectin have been reported in multiple states. According to the Mississippi and Texas Poison Control Centers, there has been an increase in ivermectin-related calls in recent weeks. Veterinary ivermectin products are used to treat parasites like heartworms in pets and livestock and are not safe for use in humans. Human ivermectin treatments have very different formulations and dosages than veterinary ivermectin and are not approved by the FDA to treat or prevent SAR-CoV-2 viral infection. Self treatment of COVID-19 with ivermectin has been strongly discouraged by the FDA because it can result in serious injury and hospitalization. Merck, the pharmaceutical company that developed ivermectin, said in a press release that there is no scientific evidence supporting the use of the drug against COVID-19.

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