August 31, 2021

Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center warns of risks of misuse of Ivermectin for treatment or prevention of COVID-19

The Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center at the Wayne State University School of Medicine is warning against  the use of the drug ivermectin for the treatment  or prevention of COVID-19.

Ivermectin has not been approved nor is recommended by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent SARS-CoV-2, the  virus that causes COVID-19. The FDA has not reviewed data nor found sufficient evidence to support the use of ivermectin for COVID-19.

Ivermectin is a medication approved for use in humans for parasitic worms. It is also available topically for certain head lice and skin conditions. Ivermectin is also a veterinary medication used to prevent heartworm disease and for treatment against parasites.

Concerns about unapproved indications for use of ivermectin increased after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed an increased number of calls related to ivermectin exposure to poison control centers nationally. The FDA has received reports of patients requiring hospitalization and medical treatment following unapproved ivermectin use.

Attempting to use medications formulated for animals puts humans at risk for severe and life-threatening health effects. Never use medications intended for animals because preparations and doses for animals differ significantly from those for humans. Veterinary medications are either not evaluated for use in humans or have higher concentrations of ingredients than those for humans.

Adverse effects can include gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and/or neurological symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Movement disorders, problems with balance
  • Seizures
  • Liver damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Ivermectin may interact with commonly prescribed medications. People using the blood thinner warfarin with ivermectin have an increased risk for blood clotting disorders. Use of ivermectin with other medications used to treat anxiety, depression and neurologic disorders can increase risk of toxicity.

If you have been prescribed ivermectin, ensure you are taking the medication exactly as prescribed and are obtaining it from a legitimate source.

If you suspect infection related to COVID-19, seek testing and/or medical care immediately with your primary care provider or local testing site. Click here to find a testing site near you or call the Michigan COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136, ext. 2.

For questions about ivermectin, or other drug safety- or poison-related questions, call the Michigan Poison & Drug Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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