Ivermectin, an animal dewormer, is the latest drug subject to internet misinformation as a treatment for Covid-19, mainly fueled by a small group of physicians. Photo by TajPharmaImages via wikipedia.com
Written by The Business Journal Staff
South Valley health officials are sounding an alarm of sorts against an anti-parasitic drug some are claiming is a miracle treatment against Covid-19.
Ivermectin, an animal dewormer, is the latest drug subject to internet misinformation as a treatment for Covid-19, mainly fueled by a small group of physicians. This includes Dr. Lorrin Pang, one of the top health officials in Hawaii, who supports the use of ivermectin and the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid as long as it is given at the right time and right dosage, reported the Associated Press.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ivermectin in both people and animals for some parasitic worms and for head lice and skin conditions. The FDA has not approved its use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans.
“Using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm,” the FDA said in a warning about the drug.
That same message is being echoed today by Keri Noeske, chief nursing officer for Kaweah Health in Visalia, who said the hospital in the last two weeks has admitted patients who were using Ivermectin but still required hospitalization.
“We are not seeing cases of patients being admitted due to side effects of using it, but we do know that it’s a possibility. We do not recommend that people self-medicate with Ivermectin. Individuals should develop COVID treatment plans with their doctors. If a doctor decides to prescribe Ivermectin, they will have the knowledge to dose it accurately and know if it will adversely interact with other medications or conditions for a patient.”
Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County public health officer, issued a similar warning.
“Many veterinary products are made for large animals so they contain doses that are much higher than what is safe in humans; they may also contain other ingredients that have not been studied for safety in humans. Self-medicating can be very dangerous because there is a high risk of overdose or toxicity.
“Persons are advised to seek immediate medical attention if they have ingested Ivermectin and experience symptoms of toxicity: nausea, vomiting, belly pain, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, fast heart rate, and/or low blood pressure. These symptoms may progress to severe health problems including tremors, seizures, hallucinations, confusion, loss of coordination, coma, and death.”