TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is warning residents to avoid trying a horse deworming drug to treat COVID-19 after a spike in poisonings.
Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings to not take the drug ivermectin — a type of medication meant for livestock, not humans.
Tuesday the Florida Poison Control Center said it treated 27 patients so far in August for ivermectin.
“The promotion of inappropriate use of this drug is irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous,” Fried said. “There is no public health or scientific support for its use to treat or prevent COVID-19, and there are serious safety concerns when it comes to self-medicating and humans using medications intended for animals. Individuals should look to their medical doctors when it comes to medical treatments – not online quacks.”
Severe dangers of ivermectin ingestion include neurologic disorders, seizures, coma and death.
Use of ivermectin should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor for an FDA-approved use. Regardless of the usage and prescription, the FDA warns ivermectin overdose is still possible. Possible interaction with other medications is also a possibility.
The FDA is working with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate sellers of fraudulent COVID-19 medication products. Retailers are being asked to remove any listing that contains a promise to treat COVID-19 without approval by the FDA.
Florida and other states including Michigan have an approved, no-cost treatment for COVID-19 through the use of monoclonal antibodies.