Ivermectin Poisoning: Families Infected With COVID-19 Getting More Sick From Misusing Anti-Parasite Medication

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Families with COVID-19 patients are turning to ivermectin, the anti-parasite medication for livestock, to treat their symptoms, prompting poison control centers in the U.S. to raise the alarm bells for ivermectin poisoning.

According to NPR, emergency rooms have been treating COVID-19 patients who have self-medicated and misused ivermectin. Fueled by misleading information, most of these patients have used the formulation, which is supposed to treat cows and horses with parasites. 

The National Poison Data System said that cases of ivermectin poisoning increased to 245 percent from July to August across 55 poison control centers in the country. The centers also logged 1,143 ivermectin exposure cases since January 2021 despite warnings from public health officials that this is an unauthorized COVID-19 treatment.

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Parents with kids who have yet to be vaccinated are also wondering if ivermectin could be an alternative treatment. Understandably, concerns for the children's protection against COVID-19 are growing since transmission cases are rising among children who have returned to their in-person classes.

Some Doctors are Prescribing Ivermectin

A doctor in Arkansas is currently under investigation for prescribing the anti-parasitic drug to thousands of families and inmates at a local county jail. Dr. Robert Karas said that he had prescribed the medication because he also took ivermectin when he had COVID-19 two times.

Karas admitted that he gave ivermectin to his mother, in-laws, sister, as well as his sister's children when they all got sick as well. Despite the warnings, Karas said that he had not seen any side effects from taking ivermectin.

According to Forbes, one of the leading medical advisers of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is child psychologist Dr. Mark McDonald, who supports ivermectin for treating COVID-19. The drug is so in demand in the state that county commissioners have asked the governor to make ivermectin more available to provide locals "the 'right to try' potentially life-saving therapeutics."

What is Ivermectin?

Developed in the 1970s, ivermectin is primarily used for treating animals, not humans. The FDA has limited its approval on people's use of this drug to extreme cases involving parasitic worms. There are also topical forms of ivermectin medications to treat lice and other skin conditions in people.

Ingesting ivermectin without the right dosage or the right product can be dangerous. Yet, some people are unaware that the ivermectin formulation for people's use differs from the more common ivermectin animal treatment, which is highly concentrated.

According to the FDA, even the human formulation of ivermectin must be properly obtained with a prescription since it can impact other medications, such as blood thinners. Ivermectin poisoning can manifest symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, allergic reactions, low blood pressure, and dizziness. It can lead to seizures, coma, or death. 

The FDA also said that no data or studies are proving that ivermectin can be effective against COVID-19. For now, clinical trials on the human formulation to treat the virus are still ongoing, and experts will still need to assess the results.

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