Oklahoma doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and others warned against using Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.
The anti-parasitic medication is primarily used for animals. A doctor may also prescribe it to humans to treat illnesses caused by parasitic worms.
The only form of Ivermectin available without a prescription are forms meant for animals such as cattle or horses.
Online claims that Ivermectin is an effective treatment for the virus has prompted some to call poison experts.
The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information has received calls from eleven people since May for adverse reactions to Ivermectin medication meant for animals. Most of the calls were made this month.
“Most of those have been people who have purchased and used an animal formulation, a veterinary formulation of the drug,” said Scott Schaeffer, pharmacist and managing director of the center. “There’s always the temptation to look for the next best treatment. Ivermectin, in my opinion, is not it.”
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned against using Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment earlier this year, writing “FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans… Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm.”
The Oklahoma State Medical Association, OU Health, an infectious disease expert at Integris Health, a veterinarian at Oklahoma State University told News 9 they do not recommend anyone take Ivermectin unless they are prescribed it by a doctor.
“It has absolutely no effect” on COVID-19, said Dr. David Chansolme, infectious disease expert with Integris Health.
“It’s important to know that on all of those products, it’s on the label, it’s not for human consumption, and there’s a reason for that,” said Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, a veterinarian and director of continuing education at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
“We don’t have enough information to take the risk and guess as to a dose and frequency in a human being. I would not take it, I would not recommend it for my patients,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.
U.S. Senate Candidate Jackson Lahmeyer claimed online that Ivermectin is a “safe and effective” treatment for COVID-19, despite the numerous doctors who disagree.
Lahmeyer told News 9 he had “no clue” regarding people buying forms of Ivermectin made for animals.
“Individuals need to go through a good Doctor,” Lahmeyer said in a text message.
The manufacturer of Ivermectin, Merck, released a statement in February not recommending the drug for COVID-19 treatment. The company said it found “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies.”