September 10, 2021

State issues warnings on ivermectin use

The state warned residents about the dangers of using ivermectin without a prescription and that there is no medical proof that it helps treat COVID-19.

In a press conference earlier this week, acting Department of Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase said he was told that there was one death related to an overdose of ivermectin.

There have been nationwide reports of people using ivermectin, including those for veterinary use, in an attempt to ward off COVID-19 or treat the symptoms of COVID-19.

Scrase called the belief in the use of ivermectin to treat the disease a “cult following.”

“The animal products are very, very concentrated. You don’t have to be a veterinarian, or a physician to know that the dose you might give a horse for a parasite infection would be much larger than what you’d give a human being.”

Overdoses of ivermectin, which is approved for use in humans for things like river blindness and an infection of a roundworm known as Strongyloides stercoralis, can cause seizures, comas and even death. It is not approved by the FDA for use to treat COVID-19.

Scrase also said on Wednesday that there was a second person who was in the ICU because of an ivermectin overdose.

Some Republicans have advocated for the drug’s use to treat COVID-19, including New Mexico’s lone Republican federal representative.

This week, Republican Yvette Herrell told an El Paso TV news station that she is “a huge proponent, under doctor’s orders, to try whatever other alternative there is.”

Scrase said the state Medical Advisory Team has studied the efficacy of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 three times and found no results.

And on Friday, the DOH asked all health care providers to report ivermectin toxicity cases.

The department noted that nationwide this year, poison control centers have received a three-fold increase in the number of calls related to ivermectin compared to pre-pandemic.

Scrase noted the increased usage in the state of other treatments like monoclonal antibody treatments that have been proven effective in treating COVID-19.