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Poisoning Related to Ivermectin Exposure for COVID-19 Described

In August 2021, 21 calls were received by Oregon Poison Center; six people were hospitalized for toxic effects resulting from use

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THURSDAY, Oct. 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Twenty-one cases of poisoning for ivermectin exposure relating to COVID-19 were reported to the Oregon Poison Center in August 2021, according to a letter to the editor published online Oct. 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Courtney Temple, M.D., from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues describe the calls received by the Oregon Poison Center regarding ivermectin exposure in August 2021.

The researchers note that there were 21 calls in August 2021; 11 of the callers were reported to have used ivermectin to prevent COVID-19 and 10 used it to treat symptoms of COVID-19. Three people had received prescriptions from physicians or veterinarians; 17 had purchased veterinary formulations; for one person, the source was unconfirmed. In most persons, symptoms had developed within two hours after a large, single, first-time dose. Symptoms had developed gradually in six persons after several days to weeks of repeated doses. Six of the 21 people were hospitalized for toxic effects resulting from ivermectin use. All reported ivermectin use for prevention of COVID-19, including three who had obtained the drug by prescription. Four required intensive care unit admission, but there were no deaths. Symptoms included gastrointestinal distress, confusion, ataxia and weakness, hypotension, and seizures. Most of those not admitted to the hospital had gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, confusion, vision symptoms, or rash.

"There is insufficient evidence to support the use of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, and improper use, as well as the possible occurrence of medication interactions, may result in serious side effects requiring hospitalization," the authors write.

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