Ivermectin Overdoses Cases Surge In US

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Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, has been widely distributed in Latin America as a treatment for coronavirus
Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, has been widely distributed in Latin America as a treatment for coronavirus AFP / Luis ROBAYO

The National Poison Data System (NPDS) reported a 245% surge in ivermectin overdoses as misinformation about the anti-parasite drug for animals has resulted in many Americans self-medicating for COVID-19.

The increase in ivermectin exposure cases was from July to August. The surveillance database collects information from the nation's 55 poison control centers. 

Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, the NPDS also reported 1,143 exposure cases, which is a 163% jump compared to the same period last year.

When prescribed correctly, ivermectin can treat skin conditions, some parasitic worms, and head lice in humans.

Following clinical trials that were done at the beginning of the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration stated the “currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19.” The FDA has issued other warnings about the drug.

On Aug. 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost 90,000 ivermectin prescriptions had been written per week in mid-August --  a sizable jump from a pre-pandemic weekly average of about 3,600. There had also been a surge in January.


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Photo: CDC

The drug has been promoted by famed podcaster Joe Rogan and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. 

Emergency rooms across the country have experienced an influx of patients requiring treatment after taking ivermectin.

In Oklahoma, a doctor revealed ivermectin overdoses are causing problems for local hospitals that are already struggling amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases fueled by the more transmissible Delta variant.

“The [emergency rooms] are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,” family doctor Jason McElyea, told KFOR, an NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City.

“Ambulances are stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have any, that’s it. If there’s no ambulance to take the call, there’s no ambulance to come to the call.”

Ivermectin can cause vomiting, nausea, vomiting, delirium, seizures, and death.


Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, has been widely distributed in Latin America as a treatment for coronavirus

Photo: AFP / Luis ROBAYO

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