Adding to the litany of mea culpas regarding the use of ivermectin – a still unproven alternative treatment for the coronavirus – the Associated Press recently issued a correction to a report alleging that 70% of poison control cases in Mississippi were linked to the drug’s ingestion.
Published in late August, the original article said that up to 70% of calls to Mississippi Poison Control were related to the use of ivermectin. Several days later, the Associated Press issued a correction putting the actual number at 2%.
This story was first published on Aug. 23, 2021. It was updated on Aug. 25, 2021 to correct that the number of calls to poison control about ivermectin was about 2%. Incorrect information provided by the Mississippi Department of Health had said the number was 70%.
The Associated Press did, however, make a clear distinction between ivermectin used for livestock animals and ivermectin used to treat humans. In Mississippi’s case, 70% of calls relating to ivermectin were side effects stemming from “medicine purchased at livestock supply centers used to treat humans.” From the AP:
At least 2% of recent calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center are about people ingesting ivermectin, with 70% of those calls being about livestock or animal formulations of the anti-parasite medicine purchased at livestock supply centers, Mississippi Department of Health officials said.
Some symptoms associated with ivermectin toxicity are rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurological disorders and potentially severe hepatitis requiring hospitalization.
Most callers have had mild symptoms, health department officials said. One person was advised to see a physician because of the high dosage they said they took.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ivermectin in both people and animals for some parasitic worms and for head lice and skin conditions. It has not approved its use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans.
Though neither the CDC nor the FDA has approved ivermectin as a reliable treatment for the coronavirus, doctors told the AP that people should consult with their physician before taking it.
“Patients should be advised to not take any medications intended to treat animals and should be instructed to only take ivermectin as prescribed by their physician,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said. “Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans.”
This past weekend, Rolling Stone magazine issued an embarrassing correction after pushing a false report claiming ivermectin overdose patients were overwhelming Oklahoma hospitals.