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CDC warns about the misuse of ivermectin to treat COVID-19

Posted at 10:42 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 22:49:59-04

(WXYZ) — Overdosing on the drug ivermectin can be scary with symptoms that can include everything from nausea and vomiting to hallucinations and even death.

"If they're using the veterinary formulations, you have to realize that these medications, or these formulations, specifically, are designed for animal use. And these are animals that are significantly larger than the average human if we're talking about horses and cows," said Dr. Varun Vohra, Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center, Wayne State University.

Dr. Vohra explains what the FDA and CDC are warning about, it's the misuse of ivermectin. It has been used to treat people with certain conditions like head lice and rosacea, but that's different from medication and dosing used for animals. And the FDA has received multiple reports of people hospitalized after using ivermectin intended for large animals like horses and cows.

"We do not recommend taking ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, which is consistent with the FDA's current stance, it's not recommended or approved," Dr. Vohra said.

Veterinarian Dr. Lucretia Greear of Woodhaven Animal Hospital says she's concerned about the availability of ivermectin for animals.

"Without it, it becomes very difficult because the options of what we can safely use in our food, animal medicine are extremely limited for our own safety. And ivermectin is one of those medications," she said.

Tractor Supply, where ivermectin is sold, issued the following statement:

"The anti-parasite drug Ivermectin has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. The product sold in our stores is only suitable for animals and is clearly labeled as such. We have signs to remind our guests that these products are for animal use only. If customers have questions about COVID-19, we suggest consulting a licensed physician and finding more information at FDA website: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19."

And what the Michigan Poison Center is seeing an increase in has nothing to do with COVID other than more children may be spending more time at home. It has to do with the accidental ingesting of laundry pods.

"From beginning of 2021 until about April, we had about 19 cases on average, per month. Whereas after May, up until today, we've seen roughly between 30 and 35 cases per month," said Dr. Vohra.

The Michigan Poison and Drug Information Center has a 24-hour hotline for emergency advice and information. It's 800-222-1222. Local callers can also reach them at 313-486-0078.