Canadians are being asked by Health Canada not to use human or veterinary grade ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, with local stores facing a shortage from increased demand.
The warning comes after reports of some people using the anti-parasitic drug to try fighting off the virus.
“There is no evidence that ivermectin in either formulation is safe or effective when used for those purposes. The human version of ivermectin is authorized for sale in Canada only for the treatment of parasitic worm infections in people,” said Health Canada officials.
Livestock supply stores in the East Kootenay have either sold out of the medication or have resorted to questioning potential customers before they sell it to them.
One shop said they will not restock on the medicine for the time being to stop people from buying it for human use.
Health Canada officials said veterinary grade ivermectin, especially at high doses, can cause serious health problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma and even death.
“Health Canada is closely monitoring all potential therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, including treatments being studied in international clinical trials. To date, Health Canada has not received any drug submission or clinical trial application for ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” said officials.
“Should a manufacturer provide a submission to Health Canada related to the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, Health Canada would conduct a scientific evaluation of the evidence to determine the drug’s quality, safety and effectiveness,” said Health Canada.
Residents who have purchased ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 are urged to stop and dispose of it. Any side effects or health concerns can be reported to a health care professional or Health Canada.