Ivermectin is a popular treatment for parasites in livestock and is approved for use in people for treatment of some parasitic worms and treatment of external parasites. However, in recent months, this de-wormer has grown in popularity for an off-label treatment of COVID, based on misinformation. Due to the dangers involved, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) urges everyone to only use ivermectin as labeled.

“Clinical trials and observational studies to evaluate the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 in humans have yielded insufficient evidence for the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend its use,” a CDC health alert explained. “Data from adequately sized, well-designed and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.”

The Food and Drug Administration has a scientific process that evaluates the risks and benefits of medications, which is how the product labels are created. At this time, Ivermectin has not been labeled for COVID treatment. In fact, when taken at wrong dosages, Ivermectin can have adverse reactions in the human body. Despite these cautions, there has been an uptick in calls to poison control as people consume Ivermectin.

“Ivermectin sold for livestock use is typically dosed at much higher concentrations that can cause adverse effects when it is consumed by humans,” said MFBF Director of Government and Public Affairs Katelyn Parsons. “To avoid such complications, we strongly urge everyone to trust the advice their doctors give them on COVID treatments, just like our livestock producers take our veterinarian’s advice on animal diseases.”

Farmers have a long history of using medicines as prescribed by licensed professionals.

“Farmers have been dealing with animal diseases using medications to treat conditions in their livestock for centuries,” said MFBF Worcester County Director Ryan MacKay, who chairs the organization’s livestock committee. “We know for effectiveness and safety; we need to follow the science and advice of professionals who are trained in their use.”

Responsible use of medication is critical and that includes only using medication for labeled treatments. Ivermectin is not labeled for treatment of COVID and should not be consumed by humans without a doctor’s prescription for one of its labeled treatments.