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AMA, pharmacist groups urge end of ivermectin use against COVID-19

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HealthDay News
Three health professionals' associations are urging an end to the use of ivermectin against COVID-19 as it has not shown efficacy against the coronavirus and some have overdosed while using a formulation of it meant for horses. Photo by LizM/Pixabay
Three health professionals' associations are urging an end to the use of ivermectin against COVID-19 as it has not shown efficacy against the coronavirus and some have overdosed while using a formulation of it meant for horses. Photo by LizM/Pixabay

The prescribing, dispensing and use of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials must end immediately, the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists say.

The drug has U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to treat people with infections caused by internal and external parasites, but is not approved to prevent or treat COVID-19.

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Ivermectin is also available for veterinary use in horses and other animals, but medications intended for animals should not be used by humans.

"We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months," the groups said in a statement.

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They noted that calls to poison control centers related to ivermectin have increased fivefold compared to before the pandemic.

The FDA has also received multiple reports of people who have been hospitalized after "self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses," the agency said in a consumer update on .

"You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the FDA tweeted on Aug.21.

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No form of ivermectin has been approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, the FDA emphasized. It said it was compelled to issue a warning due to "a lot of misinformation" around the drug, according to the update.

"You may have heard that it's okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong," the FDA said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued an advisory saying ivermectin is not authorized or approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

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The CDC has warned about the potentially toxic effects of the drug, including "nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension [low blood pressure] and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death."

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID treatments.

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