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Florida Poison Control Says Ivermectin Near-Poisonings On the Rise, Drug is Usually Used To Treat Livestock

Photo: Erik Jan Leusink
Photo: Erik Jan Leusink

Florida’s Poison Control Centers say there’s been a spike in ivermectin near-poisoning cases in the state due to false online claims that the drug can be used to treat COVID.

Since January of this year, some 65 people in Florida have either mistakenly or intentionally been exposed to ivermectin, a common deworming medication. 

But almost half of those cases happened in August alone with 28 people calling in with symptoms after taking the drug due to false online claims it can treat COVID.

Dr. Alfred Aleguas with Florida’s Poison Control Centers says ivermectin has never been approved for use in COVID patients.

“Absolutely no evidence or questionable benefit but nothing has been shown it really has not demonstrated any effective use for COVID-19.”

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In fact, he says the drug can be deadly in humans if taken at high enough concentrations only reserved for livestock like horses and cows.

“If somebody takes this, again not advised, and they start to feel any symptoms we would recommend that they call the Poison Center. We’re available 24/7, 365. It’s toll-free you speak to a highly trained poison specialist and it’s totally confidential.”

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That number for poison control is: 1-800-222-1222.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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