Some area hospitals are seeing cases of people coming into the emergency rooms suffering from severe diarrhea and vomiting after taking the veterinary medicine ivermectin, touted by some as an unproven COVID-19 cure.
While this has not been a significant problem in the Fort Atkinson area, local hospital officials warn against humans ingesting the medicine, which has not been proven to be effective either in preventing or treating the virus.
In fact, taking ivermectin can cause serious health effects, even death, depending on the dose.
“I do not recommend using ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Stahmer, chief of emergency medicine at Fort Memorial Hospital.
Stahmer said he personally has not run across any cases of people having taken ivermectin coming in to the Fort Atkinson hospital, but he has heard from colleagues in the area that this is happening.
“Any treatment should be in coordination with a physician’s care,” Stahmer said, stating that there is no good evidence to suggest that ivermectin would have any positive effect against COVID-19, although it can lead to ill effects, some of them serious.
“We do, however, have phenomenal evidence supporting vaccines, which are safe and proven to work in preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19,” Stahmer stated.
The emergency health official noted that local and national COVID-19 activity is increasing with the prevalence of the Delta variant.
‘We are currently back at levels we saw last January,” he said.
With fall on the horizon — which undoubtedly will drive many activities back indoors, providing greater opportunities to spread the disease — area residents need to remain vigilant.
“The vaccine provides the best universal protection,” Stahmer said.
In addition, he encourages all people, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask indoors to help prevent continued spread.
Additional measures people can take to decrease the potential of COVID-19 spread indoors — for example, while dining — include opening windows and using fans to bring in fresh air and improve ventilation, the hospital official said.
As to the efficacy of ivermectin for any purpose other than a livestock de-wormer, he referred people to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC notes that ivermectin currently is not authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of COVID-19.
In addition, National Institutes for Health officials also have released a statement saying that the NIH has determined that there currently are insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.
The CDC further states that people should not swallow ivermectin products designed to be used on skin, such as lotions and creams, or any medicines which are not meant for human use such as veterinary ivermectin products.
The CDC says that COVID-19 vaccination is safe and the most effective means to prevent infection, and protect against severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including the Delta variant.