The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are warning people to stop taking Ivermectin to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The health alert issued by Texas DSHS on Thursday says that the Texas Poison Center Network experienced a 150 percent increase in calls about ivermectin exposures from July to August.

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With COVID-19 cases on the rise, people across the nation are looking to other medications that they've heard works against COVID-19. There are also people against getting vaccinated looking for alternatives. According to both the CDC and Texas DSHS, Ivermectin, whether it's the type for humans or animals, is not going to stop or treat COVID-19:

Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for topical treatment of headlice and some skin conditions such as rosacea. It is also approved to treat parasitic worms (intestinal strongyloidiasis, onchocerciasis and helminthiases) and scabies. Some forms can be used to treat parasites in animals but are different than the forms for people and should only be used in animals.

Ivermectin is not an anti-viral drug that can treat viral illnesses such as COVID-19. The FDA has not approved ivermectin for treating or preventing COVID-19. Large doses of ivermectin can cause serious harm.

Both agencies stress that taking any type of drugs for animals is very dangerous, as Ivermectin for animals can be "highly toxic" for humans. There have been reports of Ivermectin being sold out at animal and feed stores in cities across the country.

Texas DSHS has their own recommendations for the public when it comes to Ivermectin:

  • People should take ivermectin only when prescribed by their healthcare provider and take it exactly as prescribed.
  • There are approved uses for ivermectin in both animals and people. Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans and can be highly toxic in humans.
  • Store ivermectin away from children. Commonly used ivermectin formulations for horses and other animals are apple flavored and taste good to children.
  • If you are experiencing any adverse health effects or have questions or concerns about exposure to ivermectin, please contact your healthcare provider or the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

The CDC also has a page dedicated to Ivermectin and COVID-19 here.

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