Tennessee Poison Center warns of dangers in taking anti-parasitic drug for COVID-19

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:59 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:13 AM EDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Poison Center is warning people not to take the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for COVID-19 after seeing an increase in calls from people having issues after taking the drug.

Though there are human uses of the drug approved, the Tennessee Poison Center says they’ve had 12 people call in just a single week due to taking the version of ivermectin approved for livestock and nearly all cases are related to COVID-19. TPC says all are experiencing varying but severe symptoms.

The drug is commonly used as a de-wormer in horses and livestock, and it’s become an increasingly popular treatment for COVID-19 in recent weeks. The FDA and the CDC both say livestock ivermectin should not be used to treat the virus.

The director of Tennessee Poison Center agrees.

“It can cause GI upset, it can cause neurological symptoms too. We’ve been seeing people who have been having altered mental states because of this come in, so this can be a serious ingestion,” said Tennessee Poison Center Director Dr. Rebecca Bruccoleri.

If you ever need assistance from the Tennessee Poison Center call the hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Again, health experts warn that ivermectin used for livestock can cause harmful side effects and that there’s little evidence it helps for COVID-19.

If you are interested in being prescribed ivermectin for human use, contact your doctor.

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