Spanish-language social media users are promoting the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Several users quote a doctor who previously circulated false information about vaccines, claiming that ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine were the “solution” to the pandemic but that it was all hidden in favor of “quarantine, masks, and genetic therapy.” Another user posted a screenshot of a “treatment plan” for COVID-19, which included a dosage of ivermectin.
Risk level: Medium
Recommendation: These types of posts may discourage patients from seeking safe, effective medical treatments for COVID-19 in favor of unsafe, ineffective, or unproven options. Talking points may emphasize that ivermectin has not been shown to treat COVID-19 or any illnesses other than certain infections caused by parasites and that hydroxychloroquine has also not been shown to treat COVID-19. Taking ivermectin for off-label purposes can result in poisoning. Clinical trials showed that when used as a treatment for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine may cause heart problems in some patients, and a recent study found that there was an 11 percent increase in mortality of COVID-19 cases that involved the use of hydroxychloroquine. The CDC recommends antiviral treatments that have been tested and have been determined to be safe.