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Key points about ivermectin

  • Ivermectin is used to treat certain types of worm infections, and for scabies when other treatments have not worked well.
  • Ivermectin is also called Stromectol.
  • Find out how to take ivermectin.
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Ivermectin is used to treat worms that live in the human bowel such as roundworms. Ivermectin kills worms by binding to the nerve and muscle cells of parasites, resulting in their death.

It's also used to treat scabies when other treatments such as permethrin lotion or cream isn't suitable, isn't available or hasn't worked well. Ivermectin is also used to treat crusted scabies in combination with permethrin. Read more about scabies. 

  • The dose of ivermectin is different for different people, depending on what it's used for and your body weight.
  • You may need to repeat your dose on certain days depending on what you're using ivermectin for, and how you respond to treatment. If you need to repeat your dose, mark the days on a calendar so you don’t forget which days to take your dose on.

In Aotearoa New Zealand ivermectin is available as tablets (3 mg).

  • Swallow the tablets with a glass of water on an empty stomach – 1 hour before or 2 hours after food.
  • If you find it difficult to swallow the tablets, you can crush them before taking them. 
  • Always take ivermectin exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

Here are some things to know when you're taking ivermectin. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

Taking other medicines and supplements

Ivermectin can interact with some medicines, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting ivermectin and before starting any new products.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Like all medicines, ivermectin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Itch and skin rash
  • This is quite common when you first start treatment.
  • Tell your doctor if it continues or is severe.
  • Headache
  • Tummy pain
  • Diarrhoea (runny poos)
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you. 
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Take care when standing up from sitting or lying down.
  • Don't drive or operate machinery.
  • Don't drink alcohol.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you. 
For more information on side effects, see the learn more section below or the consumer leaflet with the product.

Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)

The following links have more information about ivermectin. 

Ivermectin(external link) NZ Formulary, NZ


  1. Ivermectin(external link) NZ Formulary, NZ

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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