Kansans poisoned by deworming drug

Residents are calling state poison control after ingesting ivermectin, a deworming treatment intended for animals.

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August 26, 2021 - 8:42 AM

A sign at a Tractor Supply Co. store in Topeka warns against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. Medical experts are concerned by the rising misuse of the antiparasitic drug, which can cause serious health problems in humans. (NOAH TABORDA/KANSAS REFLECTOR)

TOPEKA — More people are calling a Kansas poison control hotline after self-medicating for COVID-19 with a drug intended to fight parasitic infections in animals.

Ivermectin can cause severe health problems in humans, and medical experts warn against using the drug to treat or prevent COVID-19. Interest in the drug is being driven by disinformation on social media platforms and claims from lawmakers, including a Kansas state senator.

Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention for University of Kansas Health System, said the organization’s poison control hotline receives one to three calls per month regarding ivermectin. That number is increasing, he said.

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