By NewsDesk @bactiman63

Ivermectin is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medication used to treat certain infections caused by internal and external parasites.

Image/Philippines FDA

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ivermectin dispensing by retail pharmacies has increased, as has use of
veterinary formulations available over the counter but not intended for human use.

Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has also determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.

A recent study examining trends in ivermectin dispensing from outpatient retail pharmacies in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic showed an increase from an average of 3,600 prescriptions per week at the prepandemic baseline (March 16, 2019–March 13, 2020) to a peak of 39,000 prescriptions in the week ending on January 8, 2021.1 Since early July 2021, outpatient ivermectin dispensing has again begun to rapidly increase, reaching more than 88,000 prescriptions in the week ending August 13, 2021. This represents a 24-fold increase from the pre-pandemic baseline.

In 2021, poison control centers across the U.S. received a three-fold increase in the number of calls for human exposures to ivermectin in January 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic baseline.

In July 2021, ivermectin calls have continued to sharply increase, to a five-fold increase from baseline. These reports are also associated with increased frequency of adverse effects and emergency department/hospital visits.

Examples of recent significant adverse effects reported to U.S. poison control centers include the following:

• An adult drank an injectable ivermectin formulation intended for use in cattle in an attempt to prevent
COVID-19 infection. This patient presented to a hospital with confusion, drowsiness, visual hallucinations, tachypnea, and tremors. The patient recovered after being hospitalized for nine days.
• An adult patient presented with altered mental status after taking ivermectin tablets of unknown strength purchased on the internet. The patient reportedly took five tablets a day for five days to treat COVID-19. The patient was disoriented and had difficulty answering questions and following commands. Symptoms improved with discontinuation of ivermectin after hospital admission.