IVERMECTIN DOES NOT TREAT OR PREVENT COVID-19

Modified: August 30, 2021 10:51am

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08/30/2021

IVERMECTIN DOES NOT TREAT OR PREVENT COVID-19

Erie County Department of Health warns against use of ivermectin unless prescribed by a physician 

ERIE COUNTY, NY – Prompted by urgent warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is highlighting these calls for caution against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention or treatment.

Prescription ivermectin is approved to treat certain internal and external parasites in humans. The COVID-19 disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus, which is not a parasite. Other ivermectin formulations are designed for use in animals, either for sale over the counter or from a veterinarian’s prescription.

ECDOH is warning health care professionals not to prescribe ivermectin products to treat or prevent COVID-19. They should also prepare how to respond to patient requests for off-label use of ivermectin or instructions on how to consume veterinary forms of ivermectin. 

“Veterinary forms of ivermectin should never be ingested or used on humans,” explained Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Inactive ingredients in these drugs can be harmful to humans, and active ingredients can be highly concentrated and meant for livestock, which can be many times the size of an average human being.”

“Messages shared on social media have driven people to consider very dangerous actions,” said Dr. Burstein. “COVID-19 has stirred up anxiety and fear in many people, and there are wells of misinformation on the Internet and in media that prey on those feelings. We cannot say this strongly enough: the best medical advice for you comes from your own physician, not Facebook memes, YouTube videos or group text messages.” 

“Doctors have access to COVID-19 treatments that have been studied and show promise, like monoclonal antibody therapy,” Dr. Burstein explained. “And everyone ages 12 and over has access to COVID-19 vaccine, which proves itself every day as a safe and effective way to prevent moderate and severe illness from this virus.”

An August 26, 2021 CDC health advisory noted that ivermectin dispensing from outpatient retail pharmacies has increased 24-fold compared to pre-pandemic baseline levels. Calls to poison control centers reporting severe illness and overdoses from ivermectin products also increased in 2021.

At this time, ivermectin is not authorized or approved by the FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19, due to insufficient evidence on its safety or efficacy.

The FDA offers these additional tips:

  • Taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous and can cause serious harm.
  • If you have a prescription for ivermectin for an FDA-approved use, get it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed.
  • Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.

If unprescribed ivermectin use is suspected, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or call 9-1-1. Signs and symptoms of ivermectin overdose include:

  • gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea)
  • headache, dizziness, loss of coordination and balance
  • tachycardia, hypotension
  • neurologic effects (decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, death).
  • Those who take medications that cause central nervous system depression, including benzodiazepines and barbiturates, may be at increased risk.

Resources

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  • ECDOH, COVID-19 Vaccine: www.erie.gov/vax
  • ECDOH COVID-19 Information Line – diagnostic testing and vaccine appointments: (716) 858-2929

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Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

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