CDC issues alert regarding Ivermectin

Submitted by the Monroe County Health Department

 The CDC Health Alert Network recently issued an alert to public health agencies and healthcare providers regarding the increasing numbers of individuals using Ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19. 

Officials have seen an increase in the Ivermectin dispensing by retail pharmacies and use of animal formulations available over the counter but not intended for human use. 

Poison control centers are reporting a rise in calls reporting overdoses and people experiencing adverse effects from taking Ivermectin. Additionally, there have been reports of individuals requiring medical attention and hospitalization after self-medicating with Ivermectin intended for horses. 

The public should know that the FDA has not approved or issued an emergency-use authorization (EUA) for Ivermectin to be used to treat or prevent Covid-19. While there have been studies exploring the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19, the National Institute of Health has determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend Ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment at this time. 

Ivermectin is approved at very specific doses to treat people for some parasitic worms as well as on the skin for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Some forms of Ivermectin are used in animals to prevent heartworm and certain parasites. 

People should not take any form of Ivermectin unless it has been prescribed to them by a licensed healthcare provider and is obtained through a legitimate source. It is unsafe to take large doses of Ivermectin, and doing so can cause serious harm to your health. Do not swallow Ivermectin products that should be used on skin such as lotions or creams. 

Additionally, never use medications intended for animals on yourself. The forms of Ivermectin used for animals are very different from those approved for humans. Drugs used on animals are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals such as horses and cows, which weigh much more than humans. These high doses can be highly toxic for humans. 

Seek immediate medical attention or call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have taken Ivermectin or a product that contains Ivermectin and are having symptoms. Signs and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure. Other severe symptoms have been reported, including tremors, seizures, hallucinations, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, decreased alertness, and coma. 

The safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against severe disease and death from Covid-19 is vaccination. In addition to vaccination, wear masks in indoor public places, practice staying at least six feet from other people who don’t live in your household, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. 

For more information, contact Monroe County Health Department at (608) 269-8666, email [email protected], or visit our Covid-19 webpage at http://healthymonroecowi.org/covid-19.

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