The Texas Department of State Health Services warned Lone Star Residents this week to stay away from Ivermectin, a medicine often used to treat parasites in horses.
Thanks to a pro-Trump telemedicine company, the drug has recently found fame as a self-medicated solution for coronavirus. But health officials, including the Food and Drug Administration, say the horse deworming drug cannot treat viral illnesses like COVID-19.
Ivermectin should only be prescribed by a doctor as the drug can have adverse health effects, including skin rashes, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
“There are approved uses for ivermectin in both animals and people,” the DSHS alert warned. “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans and can be highly toxic in humans.”
According to DSHS, the Texas Poison Control Network saw calls relating to Ivermectin increase by 150 percent this month.
They said most of those calls were about mild symptoms, but at least a third were from patients that were either on the way to a health care facility or were referred to a health care facility.
Texans concerned about exposure to Ivermectin should call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org