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'Not for human consumption' | Poison control calls up about 700% over drug being used to treat COVID-19

Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug commonly used on animals

ATLANTA — A drug used on livestock is the latest way, some people are trying to treat and prevent COVID-19 outside of the vaccine. It’s not exactly clear what started the increased demand for Ivermectin. 

But here’s what we know about it. 

"It’s most common use is to treat worm infections in domestic animals, dogs, horses almost any species," said Equine veterinarian, Jimmy C. Nash. "It’s also been used in Africa and South America to treat a condition called river blindness."

Tablets and topical formulas have been approved for people to treat some head lice and skin conditions. 

But not for covid-19.

Google Trends shows interest in the drug first peaked in April 2020. That’s when the CDC reported more than 56 million people had been fully vaccinated. 

In the last month, the Merck Company manufactured product hit its highest interest peak to date, despite the company warning, it should not be used to fight coronavirus. 

"We’ve had people call in with stomach ailments, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I’ve had people complain of double vision. There are a number of issues we have to deal with because, keep in mind, these products they’re taking are not for human consumption," said Dr. Gaylord Lopez, executive director of Georgia Poison Center.

Calls about the drug to Georgia’s Poison Center have gone up by about 700% just in August. 

Jimmy Nash, who treats horses with the drug, said he’s also received calls from people who want to treat COVID infections with it too. 

About a week ago, the FDA made a very blunt tweet telling people to stop using the drug – that has not been approved to treat COVID by the organization. 

Georgia Poison Center wared that playing doctor at home could be very dangerous. 

Anyone who has questions about Ivermectin can call the poison control line 24 hours a day - 1-800-222-1222.