February 06, 2019
Rosacea, a skin condition causing facial redness, painful bumps, and thickened skin, has no clear cause or cure — and it’s driving people to get, well, creative with treatments.
A growing number of people say they are experimenting with a veterinary medication originally developed to treat parasites in horses, Insider reports.
The “horse paste” contains an antiparasitic compound known as ivermectin — the same active ingredient in Soolantra, an FDA-approved topical gel commonly prescribed to treat rosacea, which Insider reports can be quite expensive compared to the $4 horse paste.
Two Philadelphia-area dermatologists have concerns about the health risks, they told Insider:
“I do not think it is good to use the veterinary ivermectin paste," said Nazanin Saedi, a dermatologist affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University. "It is a different formulation and concentration than what we use."
Margo Weishar, a clinical dermatologist in eastern Pennsylvania [Lower Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County], agreed. "Ivermectin is an excellent treatment for the Demodex mite which can colonize the skin of rosacea patients and lead to flares," she said.
Despite the lack of clinical support and, well, their better judgment, many people are quite serious about its use for rosacea, proven by this lengthy Reddit discussion about it in which commenters say things like: “I mix in a little dab of the horse paste with my regular serum and have had great success with it. I apply twice each day. After three weeks, my skin finally feels like skin, and not uncooked macaroni anymore.”
Another commenter had luck with the unapproved treatment: “I’m 16 months in remission with my type 2 by using horse paste topically. The carrier ingredients are superior to Soolantra.”
Some go as far as to say, “‘Not meant for humans’ means nothing, honestly. All it means is that it's not pharmaceutical grade. Ivermectin will always be Ivermectin.”