No, Don’t Use Ivermectin-Soaked Tampons as COVID-19 Prevention

Stay clear of this advice supposedly circulating on Facebook.

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Image via Twitter user @tlfmgator00

Claim

Putting tampons soaked in a liquid solution that includes ivermectin into vaginas is an effective and safe step to fight COVID-19.

Rating

Origin

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In mid-September 2021, Snopes became aware of the above-displayed tweet purportedly showing a Facebook thread where users discussed soaking tampons with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin — the medication that people against COVID-19 vaccinations have falsely promoted as a “miracle” solution for preventing or treating the disease.

The alleged discussion included a back-and-forth between two Facebook users — we’ll call them “A” and “B” — in which “A” claimed to have put a tampon soaked in a liquid version of ivermectin and water into her vagina.

The purported conversation went like this:

[A]: I have a lot of stomach issues, and the paste was horrible for me even when I took a microbes. A friend of mine from college who is a nurse now gave me a really good recommendation that has not had the horrible side effects. She suggested mixing the liquid injectable with 50% water and then soaking a tampon (in the plastic applicator) in it and inserting it for an hour or two. Kind of like how we all did when we were in college with vodka who our breath wouldn’t smell…

Anyways, I don’t have any of the stomach side effects or diarrhea doing it this way. I’ve been exposed many times at work, never once tested positive or had a symptom.

[B]: I’m not sure this would work for us men in the group for obvious reasons. No place to put a tampon hahaha! But thanks for the suggestion for the women here.

[A]: Well there is a place, but I definitely would not recommend it for a man. I remember a guy doing this in college with alcohol and removal was a pain in the…

It’s true that ivermectin can take various forms, including liquids.

To treat parasites in animals, for examples, veterinarians can prescribe a “pour-on” solution (example here), injectables (example here), oral pastes (example here), and oral liquids (example here), according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under no circumstances, however, should humans use those animal formulations.

The FDA has approved human-specific ivermectin products for people with some parasitic worms, and doctors may prescribe topical creams to people with head lice or skin conditions such as rosacea, according to the federal agency.

That said, nearly every medical institution says people should not self-medicate with ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19,  regardless of how they plan to take the drug. (See the FDA’s warning here; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “health advisory” here; and the National Institutes of Health’s bulletin here.)

There’s no scientific evidence that ivermectin in any form actually prevents or cures COVID-19, and, by taking it, people risk serious medical effects — including nausea, vomiting, seizures, and even death.

Considering those facts, which negate the possibility that an ivermectin-soaked tampon could help treat or prevent COVID-19, we rate this claim “False.”

Rather, vaccinations are the safest and most effective tool for avoiding sickness and spreading COVID-19, including the delta variant, as of this writing.

Lastly, we attempted to authenticate the alleged Facebook thread. No evidence confirmed whether the screenshot depicted a real conversation between users, or whether it was a digital creation.

We reached out to the Twitter user who appeared to be the first account that posted a screenshot of the above-mentioned Facebook thread. We will update this report accordingly when, or if, we hear back.

Additionally, even with hypothetical proof that the comments are genuine, we had no evidence to confirm the seriousness of Facebook user “A”‘s tone about supposedly inserting a tampon soaked in ivermectin “for an hour or two,” or whether she had indeed done so. Trolling was a possibility.

Nonetheless, stay clear of purported advice that could result in serious medical harm. As the famous gynecologist Jennifer stated frankly on Twitter:

(Also, here she debunks the myth that vodka-soaked tampons can cause drunkenness, as claimed by Facebook user “A.”)

Sources:

“The Shaky Science behind Ivermectin as a COVID-19 Cure.” Science, 9 Feb. 2021, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/the-shaky-science-behind-ivermectin-as-a-covid-19-cure.

“No Evidence Ivermectin Is a Miracle Drug against COVID-19.” AP NEWS, https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-9768999400. Accessed 15 Sept. 2021.

Commissioner, Office of the. “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19.” FDA, July 2021. www.fda.gov, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19.

“Ivermectin.” COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines, https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/antiviral-therapy/ivermectin/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2021.

“Jennifer Gunter: ‘Women Are Being Told Lies about Their Bodies.’” The Guardian, 8 Sept. 2019, http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/sep/08/jennifer-gunter-gynaecologist-womens-health-bodies-myths-and-medicine.

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