SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health, (NMDOH) in collaboration with the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, is monitoring cases of ivermectin toxicity among persons attempting to treat COVID-19.
NMDOH is asking all health care providers to report ivermectin toxicity cases effective today. In addition, all deaths related to ivermectin fall under the statutory requirement to report to the Office of the Medical Investigator.
Ivermectin is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medication used to treat certain infections caused by internal and external parasites. Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by the FDA for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. When used as prescribed for approved indications, it is generally safe and well tolerated.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ivermectin dispensing by retail pharmacies has increased, as has use of veterinary formulations available over the counter but not intended for human use. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has determined that there is currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.
In 2021, poison control centers across the U.S. received a three-fold increase in the number of calls for human exposures to ivermectin compared to the pre-pandemic baseline. In some cases, people have ingested ivermectin-containing products purchased without a prescription, including topical formulations and veterinary products. Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle (e.g., “sheep drench,” injection formulations, and “pour-on” products for cattle) can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. Animal products may also contain inactive ingredients that have not been evaluated for use in humans. People who take inappropriately high doses of ivermectin above FDA-recommended dosing may experience toxic effects.
Clinical effects of ivermectin overdose include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death. Ivermectin may potentiate the effects of other drugs that cause central nervous system depression such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of an ivermectin overdose, call 911.
All suspected cases should also be reported to the Poison Control Center by calling 1-800-222-1222.
Matt Bieber, Communications Director | Matt.Bieber@state.nm.us | (505) 470-2290
The Department of Health works to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and deliver services to all New Mexicans. As New Mexico’s largest state agency, DOH offers public health services in all 33 counties and collaborates with 23 Native American tribes, Pueblos and nations.