According to the National Poison Data System, which collects information from the nation’s 55 poison control centers, there was a 245% jump in reported exposure cases from July to August — from 133 to 459. Meanwhile, emergency rooms across the country are treating more patients who have taken the drug… Most patients are overdosing on a [high-concentration] version of the drug that is formulated to treat parasites in cows and horses… The National Poison Data System says 1,143 ivermectin exposure cases were reported between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31. That marks an increase of 163% over the same period last year…
Minnesota’s Poison Control System is dealing with the same problem. According to the department, only one ivermectin exposure case was reported in July, but in August, the figure jumped to nine. Kentucky has seen similar increases. Thirteen misuse calls have been reported this year, Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Poison Control Center, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Of the calls, 75% were from people who bought ivermectin from a feed store or farm supply store and treated themselves with the animal product,” Webb said. The other 25% were people who had a prescription, she added.
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA said in a renewed warning late last month.
Those with a prescription from a health care provider should only fill it “through a legitimate source such as a pharmacy, and take it exactly as prescribed,” the agency instructs. It also cautioned that large doses of the drug are “dangerous and can cause serious harm” and said that doses of ivermectin produced for animals could contain ingredients harmful to humans. The agency added: “Even the levels of ivermectin for approved human uses can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. You can also overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.”
At least two more states — Louisiana and Washington — have also “issued alerts after an uptick in calls to poison control centers,” according to a health writer for the Associated Press:
By mid-August U.S. pharmacies were filling 88,000 weekly prescriptions for the medication, a 24-fold increase from pre-COVID levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, U.S. poison control centers have seen a five-fold increase in emergency calls related to the drug, with some incidents requiring hospitalization.
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