TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida Poison Control is urging people not to use the drug Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
The drug is meant to kill parasites in livestock, but people across the country, and right here in Southwest Florida, have been taking it trying to treat their symptoms.
On Wednesday, Florida Poison Control tweeted out a warning — saying it has treated 39 people in Florida for exposure to Ivermectin.
Over at the Sweet Cypress Ranch feed store, owner Al Curry said he’s seen a lot more people looking for it lately.
"We keep it all the time and stock it, but right now we can’t keep it in stock because people are buying it for other purposes. We don’t promote it for that other purpose, but obviously, the word has gotten out," said Curry.
That “other purpose” is people taking it themselves to try to treat their COVID-19 symptoms. Curry said he just tested positive, so he did what a lot of his customers are doing.
"I have some Ivermectin tubes in my truck, and I know a lot of our customers have been talking about how well it worked. I took some Ivermectin," said Curry.
Curry said, people are putting the drug into drinks to ingest it.
"They mix it in like a small shot glass or something, a small jigger of orange juice just to carry it, and swig it down," said Curry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of other people are making the same decision across the country. That prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, to make a statement.
"Don’t do it. There’s no evidence whatsoever that that works, and it could potentially have toxicity," said Dr. Fauci.
When we reached out to health officials here in Southwest Florida, they agreed. Not only is Ivermectin untested as a treatment for COVID-19, it may be seriously dangerous to your health.
The Department of Health in Lee County said "There are currently insufficient data to recommend Ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19."
The Department of Health in Collier County said “This medicine can be toxic to humans.”
The Lee Health hospital system said “We advise people not to do that.”
As Curry waits for an appointment to receive monoclonal antibodies, he said he still trusts his improvised treatment.
"My guys said they all felt better, and I’m telling you I felt better today after taking it," said Curry.
The Food and Drug Administration also says Ivermectin can cause serious health effects, and can even kill you.
Florida Poison Control has a 24-hour hot line if you think you have ingested a substance like Ivermectin. That number is 1-800-222-1222.