PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon and Washington Poison Centers have treated 9 people each since the beginning of August after they intentionally misused ivermectin — a drug used to treat parasitic worms, health officials said Wednesday.

Oregon Health & Science University said it is currently receiving “a substantial number of calls” about the drug sometimes used for animals.

OHSU warned the public not to misuse ivermectin for COVID-19.

“Misusing a drug for something other than its intended purpose can have very dangerous — and sometimes deadly — consequences,” said Robert Hendrickson, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center and professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Health officials said taking too much ivermectin can cause nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, itching, hives, dizziness, balance problems, seizures and even death.

Hendrickson said the best way to avoid COVID-19 is by getting one of the FDA-approved vaccines and by socially distancing.

Oregonians who don’t have a primary care provider or have COVID-19 questions can call the OHSU COVID-19 Connected Care Center hotline at 833.647.8222. Those who take ivermectin for COVID-19 can also call the Oregon Poison Center at 800.222.1222.