Let's Talk About Ivermectin

Nurse's Blog, statdate 2021.07.20

In the interest of full disclosure, let me begin by saying that I am not an epidemiologist, immunologist, or a virologist. What I am is a concerned nurse who wants to help make reliable information easier to find and understand. As a nurse, my education has included relevant topics such as disease prevention, pathophysiology, microbiology, and pharmacology. This is a blog. Information found here is generalized and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice; please consult your personal healthcare provider before acting on any information shown here.

All information here is, to the best of my knowledge, current as of the date this page was written (date under the title of this page). This page may be updated as I find new information. A complete list of cited references is included at the end of this page.

Ivermectin Explained

Certain individuals and groups have been recommending the use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID‑19. Ivermectin has not been approved for use as an antiviral medication, and using it for these purposes must be evaluated critically.

Question: What is ivermectin?

Answer: Ivermectin is a prescription-only medication used to treat parasitic infestations such as intestinal worms. It works by paralyzing parasitic organisms, resulting in their death (Merck & Co., Inc., 2009). In essence, ivermectin is a neurotoxic pesticide.

Question: Is ivermectin safe?

Answer: When used as intended, ivermectin is generally considered safe. HOWEVER, if ivermectin were as safe as those proposing its use for COVID‑19 prevention suggest, it would not require a prescription. When used to treat parasitic infestations, it is administered in a single dose (Merck & Co., Inc., 2009). Proposed protocols for COVID‑19, however, suggest taking it every other week (Kory et al, 2021). Administration that frequently has not been sufficiently evaluated for safety. When used as directed, ivermectin usually does not have significant side effects, but it has been known to cause hepatitis, low blood pressure, worsening of asthma, Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a potentially fatal rash), seizures, and birth defects such as cleft palate and limb deformities (Merck & Co., Inc., 2009).

Question: Why are some people suggesting the use of an antiparasitic drug to combat COVID‑19?

Answer: Excellent question! Ivermectin binds with some of the same cell receptors that the COVID‑19 virus (SARS‑CoV‑2) binds to, and the theory is that if ivermectin is already bound to those cell receptors, the COVID‑19 virus (SARS‑CoV‑2) will be blocked (National Institutes of Health, 2021). Such a theory absolutely deserves attention and should be studied, but widespread use of ivermectin before those studies are completed is irresponsible, especially when other proven safe and effective options already exist.

Prevent COVID‑19 with Vaccination, not Ivermectin

New and novel treatments for diseases are always welcome, and it would be fantastic if ivermectin proves to be safe and effective in the fight against COVID‑19. However, when we already have studied and authorized options like the COVID‑19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, antiviral drugs like Veklury (remdesivir), and monoclonal antibodies like REGEN-COV (casirivimab/imdevimab), extreme caution needs to be exercised before using something like ivermectin that is unproven and lacks adequate safety information. If you really want to be on the "bleeding edge" of preventatives and treatments, you can visit ClinicalTrials.gov to see if there are any trials that you are eligible to enroll in; just be sure to review all of the disclaimers first.

REMINDER: Information found here is generalized and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice; please consult your personal healthcare provider before acting on any information shown here.


Kory, P., Meduri, G. U., Iglesias, J., Varon, J., Berkowitz, K., Kornfeld, H., Vinjevoll, E., Mitchell, S., Wagshul, F., & Marik, P. E. (2021). Review of the emerging evidence demonstrating the efficacy of ivermectin in the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. FLCCC Alliance. https://covid19criticalcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FLCCC-Ivermectin-in-the-prophylaxis-and-treatment-of-COVID-19.pdf

Merck & Co., Inc. (2009). Stromectol (ivermectin) tablets: Package insert. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/050742s026lbl.pdf

National Institutes of Health. (2021). COVID-19 treatment guidelines: Ivermectin. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/antiviral-therapy/ivermectin/