The Dangers of Using Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin for Preventing or Treating COVID-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of either hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or ivermectin for treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Both drugs are FDA approved for other diseases and can be taken safely as directed by a doctor. Neither drug is an anti-viral medication. 


In South Carolina, there has been an increase in people needing care in an emergency department for ivermectin and HCQ exposure in 2021. Reports from the poison control hotline confirm an increase in visits for HCQ exposure. 

Adequate clinical trials have not been done to prove ivermectin is effective to treat or prevent COVID-19. Small studies show it has no medical benefit, and there is not enough evidence to recommend ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. Effective treatments for COVID-19 are available on CDC’s website.

The dangers of using ivermectin

  • Do not swallow ivermectin lotion or cream that is meant for use on the skin. 
  • Taking large doses or doses intended for animals is dangerous and can result in overdose, causing serious harm including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, dizziness, balance problems, seizures, coma, and even death. 
  • Ivermectin can cause birth defects if taken early in pregnancy. 
  • Dosages intended for animals may contain ingredients that are not meant for people to consume, and how these ingredients can affect humans has not been studied. 

The dangers of using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

  • High quality research data show the use of HCQ for treating COVID-19 can be dangerous and has no medical benefit. In fact, the FDA has revoked emergency use authorization for HCQ in COVID-19 patients based on these dangers and because it does not help people recover faster. 
  • HCQ should not be taken for COVID-19 infection because it can cause serious heart rhythm abnormalities, severe liver inflammation, and kidney failure. 
  • Taking HCQ on your own outside the hospital is dangerous. 

Prevent COVID-19 by getting vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are the best way to protect against severe COVID-19 illness. High vaccination coverage is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccines are free and available to anyone ages 12 and over. More information about the COVID-19 vaccines and access to a vaccine clinic are available here

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COVID-19 Statewide