5 Oregonians hospitalized after misusing ivermectin for COVID

Coronavirus

Ivermectin is not a brand name: it is the generic term for the drug. (RapidEye/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since the beginning of August, five Oregonians have been hospitalized due to their misuse of the potent anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.

According to the Oregon Health and Science University, the Oregon Poison Center managed 25 cases of Oregonians intentionally misusing the drug between August 1 and September 14 — five of which led to hospitalization. Two of those patients had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

There is no clinical data to support the use of ivermectin against COVID-19. The OPC urges people to only use scientifically proven and FDA-approved methods to combat the coronavirus, such as vaccination. Both the FDA and Merck, a company that makes ivermectin for human use, have said there is no scientific data that supports its use for COVID-19.

OHSU says these recent patients were of ages ranging from 20 to 80, but most were above 60. Their symptoms included mental confusion, balance issues, low blood pressure and even seizures.

Some of the patients had gotten a prescription for the human form of ivermectin — but others obtained the veterinary form.

“COVID-19 is a devastating disease and can be very frightening, but the public does not need to use — nor should it use — unproven and potentially dangerous drugs to fight it,” Dr. Robert Hendrickson, the medical director of the OPC at OHSU said. “Health care providers can help COVID patients by prescribing treatments that are already carefully tested and approved. And vaccination, in combination with masking, physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and other measures, continues to be the best way to avoid getting infected.”

The number of statewide COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to slowly decline from the record-shattering numbers set amid the delta variant over the summer, but health officials say the majority of hospitalizations are still of unvaccinated Oregonians.

The slow but steady decline of cases and hospitalizations can be traced to more adult vaccinations, wearing masks and “reconsidering plans that put us or others at higher risk,” Oregon Health Authority’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said during the press conference Thursday morning.

Data indicates the stabilizing numbers came after a peak around the beginning of September, with a gradual decline over the next several weeks, according to Sidelinger.

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