Prescriptions for ivermectin and related calls to poison control centers have shot up sharply during the latest COVID wave, and the CDC is warning healthcare professionals to steer patients away from the drug.
Scripts for the antiparasitic have risen rapidly since July, jumping to more than 88,000 in the week ending August 13, CDC researchers reported in a Health Alert Network warning. That's way up from a peak earlier this year of 39,000 for the week ending January 8, and a 24-fold increase over the pre-pandemic baseline average of 3,600 scripts per week from March 2019 to March 2020.
Related calls to U.S. poison control centers have kept pace, rising three-fold in January of this year (compared with the pre-pandemic baseline), and spiking five-fold over baseline in July, according to the researchers, citing data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Absolute numbers were not provided.
Those reports were associated with an "increased frequency of adverse effects and emergency department/hospital visits," said CDC.
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