Ivermectin use and poisoning: Both on the increase in the USA



What Is Ivermectin?

By Evan Starkman
Medically Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on August 23, 2021

It’s dangerous for humans to take any drug made for animals, including ivermectin. A dose meant for a big animal like a horse or cow (which can weigh 2,000 pounds or more) can be toxic for a person. Also, some of the inactive ingredients in an animal medication might not be safe for people.



Ivermectin for COVID-19 Linked to Severe Toxicity in Small Study

— Confusion, ataxia, seizures, hypotension — and for some, ICU admission

by Judy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today October 20, 2021

Ivermectin taken to prevent or treat COVID-19 led to toxic effects, including severe episodes of confusion, ataxia, seizures, and hypotension, a small observational study showed.

Of 21 callers to the Oregon Poison Center in August — including 11 people who said they used ivermectin to prevent COVID-19 and 10 who used the drug to treat COVID symptoms — six were hospitalized for toxic effects from ivermectin use, reported Robert Hendrickson, MD, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and co-authors in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Four people were admitted to an ICU; none died. All hospitalized patients said they had taken ivermectin to prevent COVID, including three people who had obtained the drug by prescription.

Four hospitalized patients had gastrointestinal distress, three had confusion, two had ataxia and weakness, two had hypotension, and one had seizures.

“There’s been a lot of discussion that either ivermectin works or it doesn’t, but not a lot about the downsides of prescribing it,” Hendrickson said in an interview with MedPage Today.

“There is not good evidence that it can prevent or treat COVID-19,” Hendrickson maintained. “But it can cause toxicity, and has caused toxicity, when used for that specific reason.”

At the Oregon Poison Center, calls regarding ivermectin averaged 0.25 calls per month in 2020 and increased to 0.86 calls per month from January through July 2021. In August, the center received 21 calls. The median age of callers was 64, and 11 were men. Of the 21 callers, three had received prescriptions from physicians or veterinarians, and 17 had purchased veterinary formulations (the source for the remaining person was not confirmed).

Symptoms developed in most callers within 2 hours after a large, single, first-time dose. In six people, symptoms emerged gradually after several days to weeks of repeated doses taken every other day or twice weekly.

Reported doses ingested by people who used veterinary products ranged from 6.8 mg to 125 mg of a 1.87% paste and 20 to 50 mg of a 1% solution. The dose of the human-use tablets was 21 mg per dose twice weekly for prevention.

Of the 15 people not admitted to a hospital, most had gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, confusion, vision symptoms, or rash.



Coronavirus Briefing

September 28, 2021

By Jonathan Wolfe
When misinformation harms horses
For more than a year, misinformation about ivermectin — a drug used to kill parasites in dogs, chickens and other patients — has run rampant across social media, podcasts and talk radio. Proponents claim it’s a treatment for the coronavirus, even as the F.D.A. has warned against its use.
The inaccuracies have had real-world consequences. Some people have overdosed on certain formulations of the drug. Now, as my colleague Erin Woo reports, a run on the drug is straining the supply for veterinarians, ranchers and farmers who rely on it to treat animals.
Jeffers, a national retailer of animal supplies, recently raised the price of ivermectin paste to $6.99 a tube from $2.99. Overwhelmed by orders, one farm supply store in Las Vegas started selling the medicine only to customers who could prove they had a horse. In California, a rancher was told the backlog of orders was so large that she was 600th in line for the next batch.
These experiences underscore the concrete effects of misinformation and how far the fallout can spread, said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Washington who studies online conspiracy theories.
“It doesn’t just affect the communities that believe in misinformation,” she said. “This is something that’s affecting even people who don’t have a stake in the vaccine — it’s affecting horses.”
Misinformation about ivermectin as a potential Covid cure began proliferating just weeks after the pandemic hit, based on preliminary findings in studies that found that it could kill the virus. Other studies showed beneficial effects, but at least one of those was later retracted.
Inaccurate information has since flourished on social media sites like Reddit and Facebook, which is a popular platform for people discussing how to acquire the drug, and how to calculate doses.
“Ivermectin paste do you take orally or rub into skin?” read one recent post in a Facebook group. A commenter responded: “Put it on a cracker with a dab of peanut butter.”
Facebook said it prohibited the sale of prescription products, including drugs and pharmaceuticals, across its platforms, including in ads. But the groups on the site also funnel members into alternative platforms where content moderation policies are more lax.
Dr. Karen Emerson, a veterinarian who owns the Emerson Animal Hospital in West Point, Miss., has watched as her supply of the drug dwindles.
“If I have another flock of chickens with leg mites, I’m not going to be able to help them,” she said. “And then I don’t know what we’re going to do.”


‘You are not a horse.’ FDA warns against use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19

Mike Snider
Aug 23, 2021

Health officials warned against using a drug called ivermectin for unapproved use as a medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The drug, which has been approved only as an anti-parasitic treatment for humans and animals such as livestock and horses, has been the subject of a spike in calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center

The drugs produced for humans are different than the drug made for livestock, which is “highly concentrated and is toxic to people, and can cause serious harm,” the Mississippi State Department of Health said in an alert Monday. At least two people have been hospitalized with potential ivermectin toxicity after ingesting the drug produced for livestock, the state’s poison control center said Monday.



These are the states in The USA with reports of human Ivermectin poisoning: Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma



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