QNHCH Warns of Non-FDA Approved Treatments Widely Available in Ranching Community

08.27.2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a health advisory regarding the rapid increase in ivermectin prescriptions and reports of severer illness associated with the use of products containing ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. 

The CDC confirmed with the American Association of Poison Control Centers that human exposures and adverse effects associated with ivermectin reported to poison control centers have increased significantly compared to the pre-pandemic baseline. These reports include the use of veterinary products not meant for human consumption.

“Our Waimea community is known for its ranches and agriculture.  As a result, ivermectin is found in many households as a wormer for horses and other livestock,” said QNHCH President Cindy Kamikawa. “We want to make sure that our community is aware of the hazards of taking a product that has not been proven to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

Ivermectin is a medication that is approved by FDA in oral formulations to treat parasitic diseases such as onchocerciasis found most commonly in Africa.  Topical formulations are used to treat head lice and rosacea. Ivermectin is also widely used in veterinary applications to prevent or treat internal and external parasites in animals.

Clinical trials to evaluate the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19 in humans have not yielded enough evidence for the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend its use. Unfortunately, poison control centers across the U.S. report alarming increases in the number of calls for human exposures to ivermectin and there has been an increased frequency of adverse effects reported along with emergency department/hospital visits.

In some cases, people have ingested ivermectin-containing products purchased without a prescription, including topical formulations and veterinary products. Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals, such as horses and cattle, can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. Animal products may also contain inactive ingredients that have not been evaluated for use in humans. People who take inappropriately high doses of ivermectin above FDA-recommended dosing may experience toxic effects.

Clinical effects of ivermectin overdose include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death.

Safety Tips

  • Do not swallow ivermectin products that should be used on skin or are not meant for human use, such as veterinary ivermectin products.
  • Seek immediate medical attention or call the poison control center hotline (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have taken 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 nervous system effects have been reported including tremors, seizures, hallucinations, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, decreased alertness, and coma.
  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is approved by the FDA and is the safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2.
  • 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.


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