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Increased Use Of Ivermectin To Fight COVID Prompts Criticizism For Safety And Effectiveness

 Ivermectin tablets
Carl DMaster
Ivermectin tablets

Some Ohio doctors are prescribing Ivermectin, a medicine used to get rid of worms, as a treatment and preventative for COVID. People are also going into farmer supply stores and buying the non-prescription version of the drug. That’s prompted calls to poison control lines nationwide. In fact, so much off-label usage has been happening that the FDA issued a warning about its safety.

The false claim that parasite-fighting drug Ivermectin is known to be a cure for COVID-19 has been circulating on social media for weeks, and some online doctors have been prescribing it.

A Butler County judge even ordered a Cincinnati hospital to treat a patient with Ivermectin, after a doctor in Centerville prescribed it. But Jerica Stewart with the Ohio State Medical Board said that the organization has issued information containing the CDC guidance about the drug.

“And it noted in the advisory that Ivermectin was not currently authorized for treatment of COVID-19," Stewart said.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s Cameron McNamee said that the organization is taking action.

“We’ve been getting complaints from the pharmacists regarding prescribers who have been prescribing this for COVID-19 and other off-label uses. And what we are doing is we have established a process whereby those complaints are being forwarded to the appropriate licensing body where it be the nursing board for advanced practice license nurses or the medical board for physicians and physician assistants," McNamee said.

NPR reports Ivermectin is sometimes prescribed to people for head lice or skin conditions, but the formulas are different for humans and animals.

NPR also reported the FDA tweeted last month against the use of the drug. In the post, the FDA said "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who stepped in last year when another drug was being used for off-label treatment of COVID, is not taking any action now. Neither is Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“I’ll leave that to the medical community. I think we should listen to the medical community - all of us, all of us should listen to the medical community particularly when there is a strong, overwhelming consensus about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate," DeWine said.

Medical experts said the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.