Something fishy is going on. Of all the crazy health trends I thought I might discuss, this one never crossed my mind. And yes, the rumours are completely true – many people are turning to fish antibiotics to avoid the cost of a trip to the GP.
What amazes me about humans is the truly creative manner in which we go about avoiding unpleasant things. We would literally do anything rather than face something that causes us anxiety. Even something as dangerous as taking fish antibiotics.
Here’s how it started…
Rachel Sharp, an ordinary Internet user like you or me, came across ‘Moxifish’ for sale on Amazon. What caught Rachel’s eye wasn’t the fact that fish antibiotics can be bought online, but rather the fact that all the reviews were from people who had taken it to treat their own ailments. In her Tweet, she said, “How bad is American healthcare? Read the reviews for aquarium antibiotics and decide for yourself.”
And this is not an isolated incident. There are online forums dating back ten years with questions surrounding whether humans can use animal medication. Humans never fail to surprise…
Carrera Howie, told Mashable that she used a fish antibiotic called FishMox when she had a UTI, and it worked wonders.
“They worked incredibly. The UTI was completely gone within a week, and I didn’t get another one for at least 4 more years.”
She even said she’d use them again.
“Urgent care and doctors’ copays are so expensive, and it sometimes feels like I have to make a choice between having a provider and having groceries,” she explained.
While there is no doubt that medical bills can be expensive, here’s why you really can’t use fish antibiotics (if you’re really desperate eat pineapple).
Daniel Freedberg is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center’s Division of Digestive and Liver Disease. He shares the consequences of humans taking medications such as fish antibiotics, such as dosing issues.
“I’d have no idea how to dose fish antibiotics,” Freedberg says. “The differences in size and weight between humans and fish are too large. Antibiotics distribute within the body differently. (If I don’t know how) I doubt that people without medical degrees would know how to do it when self-medicating.”
He adds, ” It’s important for people to remember that antibiotics kill good bacteria inside you, too, and they also breed resistance to future antibiotic use.” This is a concern as it is a leading factor in the rise of ‘superbugs’, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
It is also important to keep in mind that fish antibiotics are not FDA approved and so could potentially lead to adverse reactions.
In a statement, the FDA said:
“Animal drugs should not be used to treat people, and patients should talk to their doctor about what medication is safe for them. Specifically, with regard to fish medications, the agency is aware that animal antibiotics are sold in pet stores for use in aquarium fish.”
In short, animal medication and human medication are two very different things. After all, you don’t want to accidentally end up sleeping with the fishes.
In the days since this has gone viral, Amazon has responded by taking Moxifish down from its site. You can still view the reviews in