Health officials warn against use of antiparasite drug to treat COVID-19

Posted at 9:36 AM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 11:39:31-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The CDC issued a health alert last week saying off-label use of the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment has led to a sharp increase this summer to calls to poison control centers across the country.

Ivermectin has not been approved for use to prevent or treat people with covid, but misinformation has prompted humans to take it.

The misinformation about Ivermectin has become such a concern, the FDA took to Twitter, saying "you are not a horse, you are not a cow…" cautioning people about the dangers of using the antiparasitic medication.

Doctor James Lawler with UNMC said the data shows that this anti-parasite drug indicates it is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.

LEARN MORE: CDC seeing increased misuse of Ivermectin as misinformation about drug's effect on COVID-19 spreads
"We use this in human medicine quite frequently. It is a very good drug, but it does not treat viral infections and some of the potential side benefits people thought it might be giving to people with COVID-19 appear not to pan out in larger trials and collections of multiple trials," said Lawler.

He added there may have been a benefit in areas where there are high loads of parasites, but that is not the case here in the United States. He said all of his infectious disease colleagues at UNMC would not prescribe this drug to treat covid.

He added it has not been uncommon for patients to ask about these alternative drugs, some even demanding the use of certain drugs to treat covid.

This comes at a time where the pandemic continues to rage across America.

The south is battling the worst of the delta surge, with ICU beds rapidly running out.

Here in Omaha, we are not quite at that level, but Lawler warned we could be in a matter of weeks.

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