Arkansas’s poisons hotline is inundated with calls about ivermectin deworming after state lawmakers touted it as a COVID drug, despite the CDC’s warning against it
- Ivermectin, a wormer for cows and horses, has been used in Arkansas as a COVID-19 treatment method after lawmakers promoted it on social media
- The Arkansas Poison Center reported that 24 people called this year after taking the drug
- Americans have come together to take Ivermectin despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) not to, because of the danger it poses to human health
- An overdose of ivermectin can cause serious effects in humans ranging from gastrointestinal problems to severe seizures and even death
The Arkansas Official Poison Line has received four times more calls this year about a dewormer being used as an unauthorized COVID treatment than in the past four years combined.
The Arkansas Poison Center has received 24 calls from people who have taken Ivermectin so far this year, while it received a total of just six such calls between 2016 and 2020.
While ivermectin can be used to treat other conditions in humans, experts say the doses given to animals are much higher and should never be taken by humans.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved its use for humans, but for parasitic infections and skin diseases — and not as a COVID treatment.
Ivermectin is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19, but it did gain attention on social media after Republican lawmakers in Arkansas insisted it was used for that purpose.
Ivermectin can be used in humans, but in much smaller doses than in animals. The drug is a popular dewormer for horses, although some are buying veterinary versions of the drug for use in treating COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned Americans that it is dangerous to use ivermectin as a COVID treatment, although it is still flying off the shelves
However, large doses of this drug can cause serious harm to people if ingested.
Those who took the drug were reported to suffer from gastrointestinal problems, and some neurologically as well.
“Ivermectin can be prescribed off-label for other uses, and that’s a decision between a doctor and a patient,” Arkansas Secretary of Health Jose Romero told KATV.
The Arkansas Poison Center received 24 calls this year after Ivermectin was taken, resulting in effects related to gastrointestinal and neurological problems.
On August 24, the Ministry of Health warned not to use the drug as a way to treat COVID-19.
dr. Marti Sharkey, the public health officer for the city of Fayetteville, said the belief that Ivermectin could be used as a treatment method stemmed from a study that found that high doses of the drug prevented the reproduction of COVID-19.
“We have an FDA-approved vaccine that prevents serious illness and death, and monoclonal antibodies are FDA-approved for emergency use, reducing the need for hospitalization for people at high risk for complications,” Sharkey told the newspaper. Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
“We have tools that we know work. I don’t understand why you would turn to a therapy that is not FDA-approved, unproven against Covid-19 and potentially fatal.”
dr. Howell Foster, director of the Arkansas Poison Center, was one of the key public health officials to prevent ivermectin from being used as a treatment method for COVID-19
“The biggest advantage is that veterinary products are not formulated for humans,” says Dr. Howell Foster, director of the Arkansas Poison Center.
‘They are in very high concentrations because we give them to very large animals, and you have to be very careful with that.’
The FDA website said an overdose of the drug can cause more serious reactions ranging from stomach-related problems to seizures. Death has also been mentioned as a possibility.
‘You’re not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously everyone. Stop it,” the FDA posted on Twitter.
dr. Arkansas Secretary of Health Jose Romero also made a statement as COVID cases have continued to rise in the southern US
The drug has also been used to treat inmates at the Washington County Jail in Fayetteville, which was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, though the procedure was reportedly voluntary.
dr. Romero told KHBS, “What we’re seeing in the South and not just in our state is veterinary-grade ivermectin being ingested by humans.
“There is an increase in the number of cases, in both adults and children.”
“It’s gotten to the point where it’s important to make that public announcement that you have to be careful and not take what’s designed for large animals.”