The CDC also warns of an increase in reports of serious illness caused by the drug to poison centers.
Ivermectin is used to treat parasites such as worms and lice in humans, and it is also used by veterinarians to deworm large animals.
Typically, about 3,600 prescriptions for ivermectin are written in a week, the CDC said. This rose more than tenfold in the week of January 8, when 39,000 prescriptions were written. “Since the beginning of July 2021, outpatient ivermectin delivery has again begun to increase rapidly, reaching more than 88,000 prescriptions in the week ending August 13, 2021. This represents a 24-fold increase from the pre-pandemic baseline,” said the CDC.
Calls to poison control centers have tripled in proportion to the number of calls about the drug before the pandemic, the CDC said.
Some examples of these calls included an adult who wanted to prevent Covid-19 and had to be hospitalized for nine days after drinking a bovine formula. Another person who bought pills online to treat their Covid-19 infection was hospitalized after taking five tablets a day for five days.
The CDC’s advice reminded the public that vaccination rather than treatment “is the safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against serious illness and death” from Covid-19.