A Western Sydney COVID patient has been hospitalised not because of the virus, but because they overdosed on ivermectin – the completely unproven treatment that anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists are obsessed with at the moment.

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that can be used to treat things like roundworm and scabies. But it can also be bought over the counter as a horse dewormer, and when taken in this form, it’s extremely dangerous.

The patient reportedly rocked up to the emergency room with a self-inflicted bout of vomiting and diarrhoea from the overdose. They’re now recovering at home.

“Thankfully they didn’t develop severe toxicity but it didn’t help their COVID either,” Westmead Hospital toxicologist Associate Professor Naren Gunja said in an article published by the Western Sydney Local Health District.

“There’s no evidence to support the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19. Don’t look for magic cures online, and don’t rely on what’s being peddled on the internet, because none of them work.”

The Guardian reports that Aussie pharmacists have seen a recent surge in interest in ivermectin from people who refuse to say what condition they’re trying to treat.

One of the biggest promotors of ivermectin as a supposed COVID treatment in Australia has been federal MP Craig Kelly, who has been posting about ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine while consistently bashing actual, proven preventative treatments against the virus.

Anti-vaxxers like Kelly often point to an early 2020 lab trial at Monash University which looked into the drug’s effectiveness against COVID-19. This research is interesting from a scientific perspective, but says nothing about the safety and effectiveness for humans.

The Monash university researchers are very clear, stating: “Do NOT self-medicate with ivermectin and do NOT use ivermectin intended for animals.”

You know what will protect you against COVID-19? Getting vaccinated.


All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get vaccinated. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor for more info. 

The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.

Image: Getty Images / Lisa Maree Williams