Poison control gets dozens of calls from people trying to treat COVID-19 with de-wormer

ATLANTA — Georgia health officials are concerned about people misusing an anti-parasite drug to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan was outside the Georgia Poison Control Center Monday, where officials said they’ve gotten dozens of calls this month alone from people who’ve taken Ivermectin, a drug used to deworm livestock.

Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the director of the poison control center, said they’ve gotten about 40 calls about Ivermectin so far this month.

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“We have had everything from nausea to vomiting to blurred vision,” Lopez said. “No one has needed hospitalization, but this product in the wrong patient could cause a lot of harm.”

Studies touting the potential benefits of Ivermectin in battling COVID-19 have made the rounds online. But the Food Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the findings are inconclusive and warn people against taking the drug, which in the veterinary form for livestock can be very strong.

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Pharmacist Ira Katz said people who don’t want to take the vaccine are grasping for alternatives like Ivermectin.

“There are some adverse effects to it,” Katz said.

Katz said he turned away several people trying to get a prescription filled to treat COVID-19 with the drug.

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“I said, ‘I’m not going to take a prescription, because I don’t feel comfortable dispensing it,’” Katz said.

Lopez said that the problem is that Ivermectin is available online, so people are still getting their hands on it.

“That’s why it’s so scary,” Lopez said.