TORONTO — Health Canada is reminding Canadians that ivermectin should not be used to treat or prevent COVID-19, after poison control centres saw an increase in reports about the anti-parasitic drug over the summer months.
In an update to a warning on its site, Health Canada said ivermectin has been authorized for human use as a prescription drug to treat parasitic worm infections. It has not been authorized for use against COVID-19.
“There is no evidence that ivermectin works to prevent or treat COVID-19, and it is not authorized for this use,” Health Canada said.
“Health Canada has not received any drug submission or applications for clinical trials for ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”
It added that prescription drugs should only be taken under the advice and supervision of a health-care professional.
Health Canada first issued a warning against taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19 in August after receiving reports that people were using veterinary ivermectin to treat and prevent COVID.
Veterinary ivermectin is approved for use in animals to prevent certain heartworm diseases and other parasites, but it can be dangerous for humans, especially if taken in high doses, Health Canada said.
Side effects of taking veterinary ivermectin can include vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, and death in serious cases, said Health Canada.
“Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of potential serious health risks, including seizures, coma and even death.”
Scientists have been warning against taking ivermectin for COVID-19 since as early as January 2021.
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