The latest bizarro answer to guarding against COVID-19 — a drug called ivermectin used to treat parasites in livestock — has drawn a rebuke from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It joins the Food and Drug Administration in warning people it can be harmful or deadly.
“You are not a horse,” the FDA tweeted on Aug. 28. “You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
Like the Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine, the drug is not an authorized treatment for the deadly virus, experts say. Yet emergency departments and poison control centers across the country are seeing a spike in patients who seek treatment after getting sick from taking the drug, the ACEP says in a release.
“Emergency physicians urge caution around unsourced information, bold claims, or instant cures made on social media or circulating among friends,” the ACEP said in a release. “Instead, seek information supported by data and backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other leading medical organizations.”
Oh, and the group also noted the best way to protect against the virus is to get vaccinated and practice safety measures such as wearing a mask — steps that continue to stir debate and calls to violence from anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers.
A UCHealth spokesperson says no data is available, but that a physician says patients have come to the emergency department who have either taken ivermectin or who ask about it. The spokesperson couldn’t say whether any patients have been treated for toxicity.
Centura Health reports it’s “not aware of patients in our system requesting the drug,” but didn’t say if any had sought treatment for ill effects of ivermectin.