Reports of Severe Illness Associated with Use of Products Containing Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a health advisory on August 26th describing an increase in the misuse of ivermectin as a treatment or prevention of COVID-19 disease.
Ivermectin is a medication approved by the FDA to treat certain parasitic infections such as strongyloidiasis of the intestinal tract and onchocerciasis. Ivermectin is not currently authorized or approved by FDA for treatment of COVID-19. NIH has determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.
- There is a rapid increase in ivermectin prescribing compared to pre-pandemic times.
- Human exposures and adverse effects associated with ivermectin reported to poison control centers have increased in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic baseline. Adverse events in some patients receiving toxic doses can be serious and lead to seizures, coma, or even death.
- There are reports of patients inappropriately ingesting topical ivermectin containing products (e.g., lotions and creams).
- There are increasing reports of human exposure to veterinary products not meant for human consumption. On August 21st, FDA release a statement on Twitter to raise awareness of the increased risk for adverse events when consuming products developed for animals.
If patients have taken ivermectin and experience signs or symptoms of toxicity, call the poison control center hotline (1-800-222-1222) for medical management advice.
Signs and symptoms of ivermectin toxicity include gastrointestinal effects (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea), headache, blurred vision, dizziness, tachycardia, hypotension, visual hallucinations, altered mental status, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, central nervous system depression, and seizures. Ivermectin may increase sedative effects of other medications such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
The full CDC Health Advisory is available online at the CDC Health Alert Network Archive .
Report all significant or unusual Adverse Drug Events (ADE) to the FDA MedWatch program described in the Indian Health Manual. Instructions for reporting can be found online at the NPTC Pharmacovigilance website. Please include “IHS” in the reporter section (section G).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, Aug 26). Rapid Increase in Ivermectin Prescriptions and Reports of Severe Illness Associated with Use of Products Containing Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19. https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2021/han00449.asp .
- U.S.FDA [@US_FDA]. (2021, Aug 21). You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it. , Twitter. https://twitter.com/us_fda/status/1429050070243192839