OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information is seeing an increase in calls concerning ivermectin, an unauthorized COVID-19 “treatment” being taken with dangerous consequences.
OU Health issued a news release on Wednesday, stating that the Center for Poison and Drug Information has seen a slow increase in ivermectin-related calls in recent weeks.
“Since the beginning of May, we’ve received reports of 11 people being exposed to ivermectin. Most developed relatively minor symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness, though there’s the potential for more serious effects including low blood pressure and seizures with an overdose, as well as interactions with medications such as blood thinners,” said Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information.
Ivermectin is used to treat and prevent parasites, including heartworms, in animals. It is FDA approved for humans to use for treatment of some parasitic worms, external parasites such as head lice and some skin conditions such as rosacea.
However, health officials are learning that people are taking the horse deworming tablet to treat COVID-19.
The tablets are not FDA approved to treat COVID-19 in humans, and can prove dangerous, according to top health officials.
“Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Many animal drugs are available in different concentrations than those used for humans, and are often available in much larger quantities because they are intended for use in large animals like horses and cows. As a result, there is the potential for an excessive dose to cause toxic effects,” Schaeffer added.
Ivermectin for human use is only available with a prescription, according to OU Health.
False claims of the ivermectin’s effectiveness against COVID have been widespread on Facebook.
Representatives of the drug company Merck said in February that there is currently no scientific basis for ivermectin being effective as a COVID-19 treatment.
Merck scientists are carefully examining “the findings of all available and emerging studies of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 for efficacy and safety,” the news release states.
Poison Center pharmacists and registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 222-1222.
“Please do not email the poison center or a member of the poison center staff, as poisoning emergencies are not handled through email,” the news release states.