BC.’s Drug and Poison Information Centre received nine ivermectin-related calls between March and the end of August, the Provincial Health Services Authority said Thursday (Sept. 2). There have been no reports in the two years prior, the PHSA added.
The cases related to individuals who had “taken veterinary-grade ivermectin in an attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19,” likely spurred on by rumours and misinformation that the drug can treat the virus. The rush to buy the drug has been so great that many stores have taken the livestock dewormer off the shelves in fears that people are buying it as a COVID-19 treatment..
Veterinary-grade ivermectin is used to treat parasites in large livestock animals such as cows and horses. Although a human-grade version exists, it is only authorized in Canada for the treatment of parasitic worm infections in people and requires a prescription.
“The veterinary version of ivermectin, especially at high doses, can be dangerous for humans and may cause serious health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma and even death. Ivermectin products for animals have a higher concentrated dose than ivermectin products for people,” Health Canada said in a recent statement.
“People should never use the veterinary version of this product.”
The PHSA said that no serious adverse effects have been reported in B.C., but the PHSA said that the best way for people to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to get immunized with two doses of an approved vaccine.
While there have been some studies about ivermectin and COVID-19, the U.S. Center for Disease Control says that they have “yielded insufficient evidence” about its use in people, even for the human-grade version. Health Canada said has “not received any drug submission or clinical trial application for ivermectin” in connection to COVID-19 treatment.