The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Efforts grow to stamp out use of parasite drug


Health experts and medical groups are pushing to stamp out the growing use of a decades-old parasite drug to treat COVID-19, warning that it can cause harmful side effects and that there’s little evidence it helps.

With a fourth wave of infections, more Americans are turning to ivermectin, a cheap drug used to kill worms and other parasites in humans and animals.

Federal health officials have seen a surge in prescripti­ons this summer, accompanie­d by worrying increases in reported overdoses. The drug was even given to inmates at a jail in northwest Arkansas for COVID-19, despite federal warnings against that use. On Wednesday, podcaster Joe Rogan, who has been dismissive of the COVID-19 vaccine, announced he had tested positive for the virus and was taking the medication.

Ivermectin has been promoted by Republican lawmakers, conservati­ve talk show hosts and some doctors, amplified via social media to millions of Americans who remain resistant to getting vaccinated. It has also been widely used in other countries, including India and Brazil.

This week, the top U.S. profession­al groups for doctors and pharmacist­s appealed for an “immediate end” to the drug’s use outside of research.

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