WEST MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– A cheap and widely available medication could help save lives during this pandemic as it shows promising results against COVID-19.

It’s a type of medicine that’s used on animals and cures head lice in humans, but now, it’s being used a little differently. Dr. Lauren Mickey, an ears, nose, throat specialist at Glenwood Medical Mall, says Ivermectin is an old medication, but it’s been successful in treating local COVID-19 patients.

“We’ve seen a couple of them [patients] that had very bad appearance when we got them, that turned around fairly quickly. Now you can say that they would have done that anyway but I really think this medicine is helpful,” said Dr. Lauren Mickey, Otolaryngology Specialist.

Dr. Mickey says Hydroxychloroquine is a common medication for COVID-19 patients. It affects the body so the virus is not able to attack the lung tissue. However, this new medicine is actually fighting the virus.

“The other treatments, which are helpful, are not medications that actually kill the virus. This drug has been counted as being affective and eliminating the virus by killing it,” said Dr. Mickey.

Since Ivermectin removes the virus from the body, officials say it could help those who have the virus lingering and can’t get a negative test. However, the medication works best before symptoms worsen.

“It’s not been shown to be effective if the people get so sick that they are in the hospital on oxygen or on a ventilator. By then it’s not going to be effective,” Dr. Mickey.

Patients that are testing positive for COVID-19 can take the medication by mouth at a small dosage. So far, Dr. Mickey says she hasn’t seen major side effects in her patients.

“A one time dose followed by a similar dose a week later. It’s had very good results on the people we used it for,” said Dr. Mickey.

Across the country, COVID-19 trials have started for Ivermectin. Dr. Mickey says these trials are using a bigger dosage than what she is using. The FDA has not approved Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. In a letter to stakeholders, the FDA says ” “People should not take any form of Ivermectin unless it has been prescribed to them by a licensed health care provider and is obtained through a legitimate source,”