Florida Poison Control Center gets surge of calls as people continue to ingest livestock medicine

People in Florida who believe livestock medicine can cure or prevent COVID-19 are going to their local feed stores and grabbing Ivermectin off the shelves, which is a a medication widely used to treat parasitic infections in humans and animals.

“Some of the more common medical uses are against worms, mites and insects, like scabies and roundworms, and tropical diseases like river blindness,” emergency physician and medical toxicologis Dr. Ryan Marino reported for NBC News. “If you have a dog, you may know it as a heartworm medicine, and if you have livestock, like horses, cows and pigs, then you may know it as a deworming agent.”

Ivermectin has shown antiviral effects in extremely high doses. But, it has never been proven to effectively treat or prevent viral infections in humans.

The Florida Poison Control Center reports that there’s been a 282 percent increase in calls about people ingesting ivermectin in August alone. Some of the symptoms people have reported are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and elevated heart rate.

“Some of those severe toxicities can be anywhere between having difficulties walking, patients ultimately going into seizures, and even progressing to comas,” Chiemela Ubani, a toxicology fellow for the Poison Control Center, told News4Jax. “There have been case reports of patients developing respiratory failure due to this medication.”

Ubani said people should only take Ivermectin under the guidance of their doctor.

From News4Jax:

The National Institutes of Health is funding a trial of the drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19. But the treatment is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or any other regulatory authority, for use to treat the deadly disease caused by novel coronavirus.

The FDA has, however, approved ivermectin’s use in both humans and animals to treat parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions.

While there are clinical trials underway to examine ivermectin’s effect on COVID-19, the current evidence available is inconclusive and its efficacy continues to be studied.

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