COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Doctors have seen patients who have gotten sick after taking a drug meant to kill worms in horses.
Ivermectin has become popular in some corners of the internet as an alternate treatment for COVID-19 despite doctors and scientists warning of the drug’s danger.
The question doctors are trying to answer is why people are taking drugs meant for livestock instead of getting one of the three available vaccines.
Ivermectin has been around since the 1980s. Dr. Joseph Gastaldo at OhioHealth explained that the drug is to treat parasites.
“In parts of the state, there are people who are wanting to take the medication not knowing the science behind it,” said Gastaldo.
Gastaldo said that some less than reputable studies were done in other parts of the world on ivermectin as the pandemic took center stage. The idea was to find a potential cure or treatment for COVID-19. Since then, many of those studies have been discredited or retracted.
The CDC and FDA have issued warnings against taking the drug. The side effects can be as mild as nausea or as severe as a coma or even death.
“Individually, I’ve had physicians ask me about it and I’ve actually seen patients who have been taking it preventatively,” Gastaldo said. “I’ve actually seen two patients in the hospital who have been taking it preventatively who have come into the hospital with COVID-19.”
Doctors are concerned they’re going to see more people get sick by taking ivermectin and COVID-19 in the coming weeks after a celebrity announced he took the drug last week.
Part of the reason is well-known people like comedian Joe Rogan are telling people he has used the parasite remover.
“I got up in the morning, got tested – turns out I’ve got COVID,” he said last week. “We immediately threw the kitchen sink at it. All kinds of meds. Monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin… here we are on Wednesday and I feel great.”
While doctors are discouraging the use of the medicine, people are buying the veterinarian form of the drug because a prescription is not required and it can be purchased online.