Early studies on cell cultures suggest that ivermectin may prevent COVID-19 from entering cells, but it has not appeared in humans, Hendrickson said.
Yet the drug is still being addressed by those opposed to COVID-19 vaccines, although there is no evidence that it is effective in preventing or treating COVID-19, he said.
For the study, Hendrickson’s team reviewed the ivermectin – related calls to the Oregon Poison Center in August. A total of 21 people reported side effects after taking the drug.
Most reports come from people over 60 years of age. Eleven of the reports were from people taking ivermectin to prevent COVID-19. The other ten took the drug to treat COVID-19 symptoms.
Among those taking ivermectin, three received a prescription from a doctor or veterinarian, and 17 purchased veterinary versions of the drug. Where the others got the medicine is not known.
For most people, adverse symptoms develop within two hours after taking a large dose for the first time. In six people, the symptoms develop over a few days to weeks after repeated doses are taken every two days or twice a week. One person also took vitamin D to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Six of the 21 were hospitalized due to toxic effects of ivermectin, and all said they had taken the drug to prevent COVID-19, including the three who had a prescription for the drug.
Of the six admitted to the hospital, four were treated in a intensive care unit, and no one was killed. Among those admitted to the hospital, gastrointestinal distress, confusion, ataxia, weakness, low blood pressure, and seizures were the most common side effects.
For those not admitted to the hospital, the most common symptoms were gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, confusion, vision symptoms and rash, the researchers found.
Hendrickson noted that there is no treatment for the side effects of ivermectin. “It’s just a matter of waiting and supportive care,” he said.
Since August, reports of serious side effects from ivermectin have continued, though not as many, Hendrickson said.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said: ‘Simply put, there is no clinical use for prescribing ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. It is irresponsible and frankly dangerous for healthcare professionals to even consider prescribing ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. “