MIAMI (CBSMiami) – “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself or other people.”
That’s an actual sentence written on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.READ MORE: Doral Police ID Officers Injured In Friday's Shooting
It’s there because of all the people who keep spreading the myth that a horse drug called Ivermectin can treat COVID in people.
This has become a problem in South Florida, just like it is in other parts of the country.
“It removes parasites and it’s in a paste and it’s meant for a 1,200-pound horse,” said Cheryl Capo of Finish Line Feed.
Despite being made for horses, it hasn’t stopped many in the community from going to local feed stores to find and alternative treatment to COVID-19.
Capo, the retail manager at Finish Line Feed, said they’ve had a lot of new customers lately looking for the horse deworming medicine.
“A lot of foot traffic people coming in, doing a lap around the store,” said Capo. “And when they can’t find it, they ask, ‘Where’s the Ivermectin?’ It happens probably five, 10, 15 times a day depending on the day.”
But Capo said those people are not buying for Ivermectin for an animal, but for human use.
The trend began weeks ago. Dr. Bernard Ashby said it’s has resulted in hospitalizations across the country.READ MORE: Six People Hospitalized Following Boat Explosion In Dania Beach
“That breaks my heart because that lets me know a lot of them misinformation, disinformation that’s going around is actually terminating the public and inspiring them to make decisions that adversely affect their health,” said Ashby.
Ashby said that disinformation includes questionable studies.
“In human studies we show no effect,” Ashby said. “And the studies that they show that it have effect are really crappy studies that are fraught with all kinds of bias.”
Various health organizations have come out against the trend.
Some forms of Ivermectin are approved in small doses to treat parasites in humans, but definitely not for COVID and definitely not without a doctor’s supervision.
“With Ivermectin it can lead to a number of side effects that can include respiratory depression among other things,” said Ashby. “If you’re taking these large doses, you can potentially adversely affect yourself and end up in the hospital result of overdose.”
As for Capo, she said until distributors, manufacturers or the FDA issues guidance about the sale of Ivermectin, they can’t prevent people from buying it despite the warning label which states not for human consumption.
“There’s no regulation on it right now,” Capo said. “Just, you know, if they don’t ask a question, they just purchase it and go.”MORE NEWS: Florida Is Ditching Palm Trees To Fight Climate Crisis
Medical experts reiterate that the best way to prevent COVID-19 is by getting the vaccine or wearing a mask.