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Health Canada warns against using anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19

TORONTO — In light of reports of people using ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug for livestock, to prevent or treat COVID-19, Health Canada issued an alert Tuesday night telling Canadians not to consume animal health products at any time due to the serious dangers they pose to humans.

The agency has advised not to use either the human or veterinary versions of the drug to treat COVID-19, as there’s no evidence that it is safe or effective for such purposes.

The human version of ivermectin is authorized for sale in Canada only for the treatment of parasitic worm infections in people. The veterinary ivermectin is used for treating parasites in animals and contains higher concentrations of the drug.

At high doses, this version is dangerous for humans and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, low-blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, comas and even death.

If you have purchased ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, Health Canada advises discarding it. If you have consumed the drug and have health concerns, you are also advised to consult a health-care professional and report any side-effects.

The U.S. Food and Drug Association pleaded with Americans on Aug. 21 not to take ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 in a tweet, saying: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow.”

Scientists at least as far back as January have warned against its use.

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