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FDA warns against using Ivermectin drug for COVID-19 treatment

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the public against using a drug called Ivermectin as treatment for the coronavirus.

The FDA explained in an advisory dated Monday, March 15, that only animals can take Ivermectin through oral or intravenous methods.

The medication is for the prevention of heartworm disease and treatment of internal and external parasites in certain animal species.

"The public is warned against taking animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and efficacy in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans can cause serious harm. Animal drugs are often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans," the FDA said.

"The drug is an important part of the parasitic control program for some animal species and should only be administered according to its approved indication, or as prescribed by a duly licensed veterinarian."

The FDA added that while there are registered Ivermectin products in the country for human use, these are "in topical formulations under prescription use only."

This means they are only applied on human skin, "for the treatment of external parasites, such as head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea." The products should not be taken orally.

The Department of Health earlier cautioned against using the drug as treatment for COVID-19, saying that it has only been studied in laboratories and it has not been tested on animals or humans as a possible COVID-19 treatment.

It added that off-label drugs, such as Ivermectin, could cause more harm than good to patients. – Bonz Magsambol/Rappler.com