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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to take horse deworming medication to treat COVID-19. 

It turns out the medicine, Ivermectin, is flying off store shelves in Oklahoma, despite the warning.

“Once the damage is done in these situations, you’re not going back,” Dr. Mary Clarke with the Oklahoma State Medical Association. 

It’s damage that could lead to long-term health problems. Dr. Clark told KFOR Oklahomans are using the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19.

“The FDA has said please, please, this is not something that is recommended,” said Dr. Clarke. “And the manufacturer of the actual medicine has said we have no evidence of effectiveness.” 

Dr. Clarke said the drug, which has not been studied on humans, treats or prevents parasites in animals. However, Clarke said there are two versions of Ivermectin.

“There’s a human-grade, but it’s for parasite infections,” said Clarke. “20 years ago was the last time that I’ve used Ivermectin on a human.”

KFOR contacted 12 Tractor Supply stores around Oklahoma, and they all said Ivermectin was sold out. 

“Ivermectin is gone within hours of shipment,” one store said.

 “I mean, we even have ‘Please don’t eat’ signs up,” another told KFOR.

 “We haven’t received a shipment in two weeks,” said a supply store. “I think it’s because people are consuming it.”    

“There’s too much potential for error if a person goes and takes a veterinary product intended for large animals,” said Scott Schaeffer with the Oklahoma Poison Control Center. 

Since May, there have been 10 poison calls related to Ivermectin. Diarrhea and vomiting are two of the many side effects you could experience. Some can be very serious.

“It could be dizziness, cardiac rhythm problems, blood pressure issues, primarily low blood pressure. Especially mix with some other medications,” said Dr. Clarke. “There is no dose. There’s no dose for this because there’s no evidence that this is going to work.”

Again, doctors warn don’t buy medicine from a feed store. 

Doctor Clarke told KFOR the best way to prevent COVID is to get vaccinated.