- Desperation and fear do strange things to people, it seems.
Any port in a storm, goes one famous saying. But the same principle really doesn’t apply to medicine.
But tell that to the people who are landing themselves in hospitals with an imaginative cure for COVID-19. They’ve started popping pills that are intended for de-worming livestock.
The drug in question is called ivermectin. It’s a widely used medicine that farmers feed their animals to kill parasitic nematode worms.
And because it kills disgusting parasites, it must also kill the coronavirus. Right? No, not by a long shot, but some people have still gotten that bright idea in their heads.
According to the CDC, there has been a sudden, massive uptick in ivermectin prescriptions. The drug isn’t going to the animals — people are taking it themselves, thinking it’ll treat or prevent COVID-19.
As a result, ivermectin poisonings are skyrocketing across the country. In Texas, for example, the state’s Poison Center Network has been receiving 150% more calls about it this year than in 2020.
The situation has gotten so bad that the Food and Drug Administration felt the need to chime in.
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA tweeted.
They could’ve maybe worded that better. But they’re still not wrong.
‘No Scientific Basis’
Granted, doctors do sometimes prescribe low doses of ivermectin to people who have managed to catch a parasite. But the key words here are “low doses.”
The ivermectin drugs intended for animal use have much higher concentrations of the active chemicals than those for human use. As a result, you’ll just poison yourself if you take it.
According to the FDA, ivermectin poisoning comes with an impressive list of symptoms. They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, dizziness, seizures, confusion, sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash, and liver injury.
And again, the drug doesn’t do jack s*** against COVID. It works by disrupting ion channels in nematode worms, which renders the parasites unable to feed or reproduce.
Do viruses have those ion channels? No, they do not.
Even Merck, the company manufacturing ivermectin, says the drug has “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19.”
Prescriptions at All Time High
Of course, ivermectin’s complete uselessness against COVID hasn’t stopped people from giving it a shot. The CDC says that just during one week in August 2021, doctors gave 88,000 ivermectin prescriptions.
Pre-pandemic, the usual number of prescriptions per week was about 3,600. So yeah, they’re being handed out like candy.
Despite the staggering number of prescriptions, not everybody who wants to take a toxic dose of de-worming pills has been able to get one. But these people weren’t going to let that stand in their way.
When they couldn’t get official prescriptions, people began to buy over-the-counter ivermectin pills. And since most of those are livestock strength, they’re even less suitable for human consumption than the doctor-prescribed ones.
It’s no wonder that people are landing in hospitals in droves.
A ‘Disturbing’ Doctor
Oh, but it gets better. Or worse, however you want to look at it.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Washington County sheriff Tim Helder confirmed on August 24 that Dr. Rob Karas at an Arkansas prison had been prescribing ivermectin to inmates with COVID. His practice has also been praising ivermectin as a COVID treatment for months.
That’s despite the fact that any doctor should be fully aware that the drug will do absolutely nothing. Eva Madison, a member of Washington County’s quorum court — the county’s governing body — called the incident “disturbing.”
“Are we allowing [the doctor] to effectively experiment on our detainees at our jail with no oversight?” Madison asked in an interview with ABC News.
The ivermectin descriptions came to light when a Washington County employee was sent to the jail’s clinic to get a COVID test. After the person tested negative, Karas handed them a prescription for ivermectin.
Hesitant to take livestock parasite drugs, the employee asked their primary care provider for a second opinion. That physician had some common sense and told the employee to throw the drugs “in the trash.”
“[The employee] had the good fortune to have a physician that he could go to and ask for a second opinion. Our inmates do not have that choice,” Madison said.
Luckily, it seems authorities have taken the appropriate measures. According to ABC News, the state’s medical board has started an investigation on Karas and his prescriptions.
But seriously, people, there’s a vaccine you can get if you’re worried. Stop swallowing horse drugs, for Pete’s sake.