New Mexico health officials link ivermectin abuse to two COVID-19 deaths.

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New Mexico health officials link ivermectin abuse to two COVID-19 deaths.

A wave of misinformation touting the anthelmintic drug ivermectin as a COVID treatment is showing no signs of abating, poison control centers about the drug are on the rise, and officials in New Mexico said the drug’s Abuse contributed to at least two deaths.

Federal health officials have repeatedly warned COVID patients not to take the drug, an anti-parasitic drug most commonly used on animals in the United States and, in small doses, to treat head lice in people. to do. But those warnings have done little to stem the drug’s popularity in parts of the United States.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 1,440 cases of ivermectin poisoning through September 20 this year, more than three times as many during the same periods in 2019 and 2020. Most of this year’s reports came in the summer as people asked for prescriptions. False claims about the drug’s effectiveness in COVID patients started circulating on social media, podcasts and talk radio. Podcasting giant Joe Rogan and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have both promoted the drug.

States across the country are reporting staggering numbers about the drug to poison control centers. Health officials in Mississippi reported last month that 70 percent of recent calls were about ivermectin. Oregon Health & Science University reports that in Oregon, 25 people reported ivermectin poisoning between August 1 and September 14. Five of those people were hospitalized, with two admitted to the intensive care unit.

State health officials said New Mexico’s poison control centers have also seen a sharp increase in calls about the drug — 24 cases since November of 2020, compared to two between January and November of 2019. In this year’s 14 cases were hospitalized after taking the drug, and two of them died, the state reported on Wednesday.

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Acting head of the state health department Dr David R Scresse said the two people who died – aged 38 and 79 – had Covid-19 and had taken ivermectin instead of proven treatments such as monoclonal antibodies. He said the drug had contributed to both deaths, with one patient suffering kidney failure.

Dr. Schrez said in an interview on Saturday that using ivermectin to treat COVID is like taking antacids for a heart attack. “It’s the wrong medicine for something really serious,” he said.

Dr. Susan Smolinske, director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, said about half of the cases of ivermectin poisoning this year were people who took the drug to prevent Covid.

While some versions of ivermectin are prescribed to treat head lice and other parasites in people, other formulas – which come in liquid and paste-like forms – are commonly used in the horse and livestock industries to combat insects and parasites. Huh.

In previous years, Dr. Children were mistakenly taking chewable tablets for dogs in several incidents in New Mexico, Smolinske said, but recently poison centers had seen more examples of people taking concentrated forms of drugs meant for larger animals.

Susan Smolinske, director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, said, “Most of our cases are from horses or an anthelmintic or ingesting product, so they are highly concentrated compared to those pills for dogs.”

Dr. Smolinske said abuse of the drug can cause drowsiness, dizziness, tremors or even coma. “It gets into the brain, and if you take a high enough dose, it has a hard time getting out of the brain,” she said.

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