The CDC also cautions about an increase in reports of severe 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 de-worm large animals.
Normally, about 3,600 prescriptions are written for ivermectin in a week, the CDC said. This rose more than tenfold by the week of January 8, when 39,000 prescriptions were written. “Since early July 2021, outpatient ivermectin dispensing has again begun to rapidly increase, reaching more than 88,000 prescriptions in the week ending August 13, 2021. This represents a 24-fold increase from the pre-pandemic baseline,” the CDC said.
Calls to poison control centers have increased three-fold, compared 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 cattle 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 advisory reminded the public that vaccination rather than treatment “is the safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against severe disease and death” from Covid-19.