People are poisoning themselves trying to treat or prevent COVID-19 with a horse de-worming drug

Ivermectin horse paste
The medicine comes in several varieties, including a transparent yellow gel.

  • People are using ivermectin, a paste used to de-worm horses, in a flawed attempt to treat COVID-19.
  • While it can be safe for human in some forms, people are using equestrian doses, ABC reported. 
  • Ivermectin can be poisonous to people and cause seizures, trouble breathing, and heart problems. 
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People are trying to treat and prevent COVID-19 by taking ivermectin, a medication commonly used to de-worm horses – and they are poisoning themselves in the process.

ABC News reported an uptick in calls to poison control centers linked to the drug. The Missouri Poison Center alone has seen a 40 to 50 call increase in the regular amount of messages they would receive a day prior to the pandemic.

Experts are urging people to avoid the lure of fake “cures,” which could cause health problems as bad or worse than a COVID-19 infection. 

Rather than waiting to get the drug through proper channels, people are instead getting equestrian prescriptions through their vets and using horse-sized doses on themselves, Julie Weber, president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, told ABC News.  

“We just had a case of someone using a veterinary source of ivermectin, a horse medication, that contains a significantly larger dose of the drug,” Weber told ABC News. 

Ivermectin is not a cure, treatment, or preventative medicine for COVID-19, but it is one of many unproven and unsafe hacks promoted on the internet. 

Other dangerous hacks promoted online include drinking bleach to poisoning themselves with cleaning products, and taking the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine – a drug promoted by former President Donald Trump, despite warnings it is ineffective and can be harmful.

Ivermectin can be tolerated in small doses but can poison an adult in large quantities 

Ivermectin is commonly used as an anti-parasite cream on dogs, cats, and horses. It can eliminate lice, scabies, and worms in mammals. 

While smaller doses of the medication can be tolerated by humans, with few side effects aside from nausea, rashes, and increased heart rate, taking a dose of ivermectin intended for an animal the size of a compact car can poison you. 

According to the Missouri Poison Center, serious overdoses of ivermectin can result in seizures, coma, lung issues, and heart problems. 

The Missouri Poison Center recommends people refrain from taking their pet’s medication and instead wait to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines or seek medical attention if they believe they have been infected with the coronavirus. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people who have accidentally poisoned themselves with household cleaners trying to disinfect their homes has jumped by 20% since the beginning pandemic. 

If you believe you or a loved one has taken a large dose of ivermectin, call your local poison center or call 911. 

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