MSDH warns against ingesting Invermectin to prevent COVID

Published 10:47 am Friday, August 20, 2021

The Mississippi State Department of Health issued a health alert warning the public against Invermectin, a Food and Drug Administration-approved antiparasitic drug that is used to treat several tropical diseases, including onchocerciasis, helminthiases, and scabies.

The alert states that the Mississippi Poison Control Center has received an increasing number of calls from individuals with potential invermectin exposure taken with the intent to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection.

Around 70% of the recent calls were related to invermectin purchased at animal livestock supply centers and intended for use on animals only. Of those calls, 85% were experiencing mild symptoms, however one individual was asked to seek further medical assistance due to the amount of the drug they reportedly had taken.

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As of yet, there have been no direct reports to the MSDH or MPCC about hospitalizations due to invermectin toxicity.

The MSDH states there are approved, medical ways to use invermectin, but patients should not take medications intended for animals and take invermectin as prescribed by their physician. Animal drugs are highly concentrated for larger animals and can be highly toxic to humans.

Some symptoms associated with invermectin toxicity include rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders and potentially severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization.

Mississippi physicians, providers, and hospitals that identify patients with illness related to the ingestion of invermectin, either prescribed or livestock formulations, should report to the Mississippi Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.