Westmead Hospital, Australia, has reported that it treated a COVID-19 patient who had overdosed on the drug ivermectin. This is an unproven and potentially deadly treatment.
After taking the drug, the person sought treatment for side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting. This and other unproven COVID remedies had been ordered online by the person.
A COVID-positive person is recovering at home after presenting to Westmead Hospital's ED with vomiting and diarrhoea recently not due to COVID but from an overdose of the drug ivermectin and other supposed COVID "cures" they ordered online.https://t.co/Qrh8R0XnCE Western Sydney Health (@WestSydHealth) September 1, 2021
Although the patient survived, the authorities were concerned about the increase in people who are taking ivermectin. They also warn against the use of the drug for any other COVID symptoms.
Other side effects of ivermectin include seizures and coma.
Why do people take it?
Researchers have shown that ivermectin can kill SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 virus) in the laboratory. Since then, interest has been expressed in whether the drug could also kill the virus in humans.
There is no evidence that it can treat or prevent COVID-19. There is consensus that people shouldn't take ivermectin home to treat COVID-19.
The World Health Organization, Australia's National COVID-19 clinical evidence taskforce and NPS Medicinewise are all against it.
How do people get it?
Despite this, community pharmacists reported an increase in demand for ivermectin. People are looking for the drug as a COVID treatment.
Ivermectin has been approved in Australia to treat parasite infections in people. It is also used extensively in veterinary medicine to prevent and treat parasite infections.
You can only legally access ivermectin in Australia if you have a doctor's approval.
Ivermectin, as with all medicines, is not 100% safe. There are possible side effects. A doctor must decide if ivermectin will be safe for each patient.
Ivermectin can only be used to prevent COVID-19 in clinical trials, which allow patients to be carefully selected and monitored.
The State Veterinarian's Office would like to inform consumers about an advisory by the CDC concerning human use of veterinary ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. https://t.co/Iwfo9BqnPe pic.twitter.com/wrM7VKZK3T TN Dept. Ag (@TNAgriculture), August 31, 2021
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration warns against the dangers of importing untested ivermectin products purchased online.
This can be dangerous because the products might not contain the desired drug or contain dangerous contaminants.
Most concerning are reports that people in Australia and abroad have purchased and taken ivermectin products for animals. These products may be used by people who are unable to obtain a script for human ivermectin formulations.
What does it do for your body?
We don't know much about the effects of the drug on humans. The only thing we know is what it does in animals.
The drug is usually well tolerated when taken at the recommended dosage. Ivermectin can cause mild side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Side-effects that are less common but more serious include skin rashes, effects on the nervous systems (causing confusion, tremors, and sleepiness), and severe skin rashes.
These side effects can be even more severe in cases of overdose and higher doses. It can cause comas, low blood pressure, balance problems, seizures, liver injury, or even hypotension.
The take-home message
It is not surprising that the public is interested in COVID-19 medicines. There is still misinformation about ivermectin, and other medicines.
COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to lower the risk of serious illness or death due to COVID-19. The Australian National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has the most current information on COVID-19 treatments. It is reliable and up-to date with new information.
You should immediately seek medical advice if you or your family member takes ivermectin.
Nial Wheate is Associate Professor of Sydney Pharmacy School, University of Sydney. Andrew McLachlan is Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy at University of Sydney. Slade Matthews is Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney.
This article was republished by The Conversation under Creative Commons. You can read the original article.