Contact: DOH Communications
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Information Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) warns people should not take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19, following today’s Health Alert Network advisory released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug used commonly in humans and animals. Although it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of some parasitic worms, external parasites and skin conditions, evidence shows it is ineffective against treating the COVID-19 virus and the side effects can be potentially dangerous.
Side effects may include, but are not limited to, skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, dizziness, seizures, confusion, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and liver injury (hepatitis). Drugs prescribed for animals are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals and therefore may be toxic to humans. The FDA has received multiple reports of people who were hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses. In July 2021, poison control centers across the country reported a five-fold increase in the number of calls for human exposure to ivermectin.
Despite the dangers, nationwide the CDC has seen a sharp increase in both providers prescribing and patients requesting ivermectin for COVID-19. According to the CDC, during the second week of August more than 88,000 prescriptions were reported nationwide, which is 24-times higher than the number of prescriptions written before the pandemic and more than double the previous peak of prescriptions written in early January 2021. The FDA has established a cross-agency task force that closely monitors for fraudulent COVID-19 products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated is the most safe and effective way to protect yourself and prevent severe sickness and death from COVID-19. Everyone 12 and older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to make an appointment today.