AROUND OREGON: ‘Intentional misuse’ of ivermectin rises in Oregon

Poison control operators in Oregon have seen a third more calls this month for people who intentionally misused veterinary and human forms of ivermectin than they saw in all of the other seven months of the year combined.

The Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University has received nine calls surrounding the “intentional misuse” of the anti-parasitic drug, according to OHSU spokesperson Franny White.

Only six poison control calls for intentionally misusing the drug were reported between January and July.

“Intentional misuse” refers to any instance of an individual using a drug for something other than the purpose for which the drug was intended, White said in an email Monday, “which includes taking ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID, which isn’t recommended.”

The drug, which the Food & Drug Administration says is not an anti-viral, is most often prescribed to humans in pill form for intestinal parasites. Its use as an ill-advised COVID-19 home remedy became national news over the weekend, however, after the Mississippi State Department of Health issued a public health alert Friday because people ingesting veterinary formulations of ivermectin made up about 70% of that state’s poison control calls.

The FDA warns against people consuming veterinary forms of ivermectin because they may be formulated for animals with much different weights than a human and may contain ingredients not reviewed by the FDA as safe for humans.

In Oregon, the numbers show that ivermectin misuse is on the rise.

August’s nine intentional misuse cases made up the bulk of the 13 calls related to consumption of human and veterinary versions of the antiparasitic drug.

There were a combined 29 ivermectin calls between January and July.

For all of 2020, there were 50 calls related to ivermectin, of which 24 involved intentional misuse — 48%.

Poison control is averaging 12 misuse calls per month in August, according to White, whose figure factored in another eight days left in the month.

There were 0.9 intentional misuse ivermectin calls per month in the first seven months of the year, and 0.3 intentional misuse ivermectin calls in all of 2020.

Anyone experiencing a poisoning should call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222, or see ohsu.edu/oregon-poison-center.

NOTE: This story is published with the permission as part of a collaborative of news organizations in Oregon sharing news content. The Malheur Enterprise is part of the arrangement.

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