Ivermectin not authorized to prevent or treat COVID-19; may cause serious health problems
- Starting date:
- August 31, 2021
- Posting date:
- October 19, 2021
- Type of communication:
- Veterinary Drugs
- Source of recall:
- Health Canada
- Unauthorized products, Important Safety Information
- General Public, Healthcare Professionals
- Identification number:
- Product: Ivermectin (veterinary or human versions), an antiparasitic agent (tablets, paste, oral solution, injectable solution, medicated premix or topical).
- Issue: Consumers, are purchasing veterinary ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19.
- What to do: Do not use veterinary ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. If you have purchased ivermectin for this purpose, discard it immediately. Consult a healthcare professional if you have used this product and have health concerns.
UPDATE (October 19, 2021): Reports to poison centres concerning ivermectin as a prevention or treatment for COVID-19 have increased over the summer months
Health Canada is reminding Canadians not to use ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. Canadian poison centres have seen an increase in reports concerning ivermectin over the summer.
There is no evidence that ivermectin works to prevent or treat COVID-19, and it is not authorized for this use. To date, Health Canada has not received any drug submission or applications for clinical trials for ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Ivermectin has been authorized by Health Canada for human use, as a prescription antiparasitic drug for the treatment of parasitic worm infections. Prescription drugs should be taken only under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. Patients taking prescription drugs without being examined and monitored by a healthcare practitioner may not receive the appropriate treatment to maintain and protect their health. They may also put themselves at risk for drug interactions or harmful side effects. Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of potential serious health risks, including seizures, coma and even death.
Recently, Health Canada became aware that ivermectin had been advertised in Canada for the treatment of COVID-19. It is illegal in Canada to sell or advertise a drug in a false, misleading or deceptive manner. The Department took action and directed advertisers to remove the non-compliant advertisements.
Health Canada continues to monitor the situation. In the event of additional cases of illegal marketing activities involving ivermectin products as a treatment for COVID-19 are identified, the Department will take action to mitigate the risk to Canadians.
As part of its ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, Health Canada posts a summary of health product advertising complaints as well as health product advertising incidents related to COVID-19 addressed by the Department.
Original Advisory (August 31, 2021):
Health Canada has received concerning reports of the use of veterinary ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of the potential serious health dangers posed by them.
In this light, Health Canada is advising Canadians not to use either the veterinary or human drug versions of Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. 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.
The veterinary version of ivermectin, especially at high doses, can be dangerous for humans and may cause serious health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma and even death. Ivermectin products for animals have a higher concentrated dose than ivermectin products for people.
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.
For drugs that have the potential to be helpful in treating COVID-19, Health Canada encourages drug manufacturers to conduct clinical trials. This would provide an opportunity for the healthcare community to collect information on the effectiveness of the treatment and its associated risks.
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.
Health Canada will continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate and timely action should new information become available, including any information regarding the illegal advertising or sale of ivermectin. Health Canada will also communicate any new safety information to healthcare professionals and consumers.
Health Canada has previously warned Canadians about products making false and misleading claims to treat or cure COVID-19. For information on Health Canada authorized vaccines and treatments, visit Canada.ca.
Ivermectin, a prescription drug product, is authorized for sale in Canada for the treatment of parasitic worm infections in humans, specifically intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, and should only be used for this purpose, under the supervision of a healthcare professional. A veterinary version of this medication is available to treat parasitic infections in animals. People should never use the veterinary version of this product.
What you should do
- If you are concerned or are experiencing symptoms after having used ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, call your local poison centre right away.
If you have purchased ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, stop using it and discard it:
- Follow municipal or regional guidelines on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste; or
- Return the product to the point of sale for proper disposal.
- Consult a healthcare professional if you have used ivermectin and have health concerns.
- Report any health product adverse events to Health Canada.
- Submit a complaint to Health Canada should you have any information regarding the illegal advertising or sale of ivermectin or any other health product using its online complaint form.
- Report marketing that is false or misleading or does not meet regulatory requirements.
- Date modified: