- Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication.
- Ivermectin is used to treat infections in the body that are caused by certain parasites.
- Ivermectin is currently being investigated as a treatment for corona virus SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. The trials so far have shown ivermectin reduces the number of cell-associated viral DNA by 99.8 % in 24 hours. Further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this medicine in humans with COVID-19.
- Click for further information on using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 and other prevention and investigational treatments.
Ivermectin is mainly used to recover from many types of parasitic infections which are as follows:
- Head lice
- River blindness
- Worm infections
You will need to have a stool exam after taking ivermectin to make sure the infection is gone. Some patients may need to take another dose of ivermectin to treat the infection.
Ivermectin may make you feel dizzy. To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
Before taking this medicine
- You should not use ivermectin if you are allergic to it.
- To make sure ivermectin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver or kidney disease; or
- Cancer, HIV or AIDS, or other conditions that can weaken your immune system.
- It is not known whether ivermectin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
- Ivermectin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
- Ivermectin should not be given to a child who weighs less than 33 pounds (15 kg).
How should I take ivermectin?
- Never take ivermectin in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label.
- Take ivermectin on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
- Ivermectin is usually given as a single dose. Take this medicine with a full glass of water.
- To effectively treat your infection, you may need to take ivermectin again several months to a year after your first dose.
- If you have a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine), you may need to take more than one dose of ivermectin. Some people who have a weak immune system need to take this medicine on a regular basis. Follow your doctor's instructions.
- To make sure this medicine is working, you may need to provide frequent stool samples.
- Store this medicine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Ivermectin dosing information
- Usual Adult Dose of Ivermectin for Onchocerciasis:
- 15 mg/kg orally once every 12 months
Patients with heavy ocular infection may require retreatment every 6 months. Retreatment may be considered at intervals as short as 3 months.
Dosage guidelines based on body weight:
- 26 to 44 kg: 6 mg orally one time
- 65 to 84 kg: 12 mg orally one time
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since ivermectin is usually given in a single dose, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking ivermectin?
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of ivermectin.
Ivermectin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to ivermectin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- eye pain or redness, puffy eyes, problems with your vision;
- severe skin rash, itching, or rash with pus;
- confusion, change in your mental status, balance problems, trouble walking;
- fever, swollen glands, stomach pain, joint pain, swelling in your hands or feet;
- fast heart rate, trouble breathing;
- loss of bladder or bowel control;
- neck or back pain, seizure (convulsions); or
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.
Common ivermectin side effects may include:
- headache, muscle aches;
- nausea, diarrhea; or
- Mild skin rash.