The state’s acting Human Services Secretary David Scrase, MD, said it could take weeks to confirm whether ivermectin was the cause of the person’s death, but that he expects it will be confirmed.
“I’d like people to know, if they’re out there taking it, it can kill them,” Dr. Scrase said.
Officials were also investigating a suspected second case of a patient that is in critical condition after taking the ivermectin — a drug commonly used to treat parasitic worms in animals. The patient was being treated in an intensive care unit at one of the state’s hospitals, Dr. Scrase said.
While ivermectin’s use in humans is FDA-approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, as well as some topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions, the drug is not an antiviral. The FDA has warned against using it to treat COVID-19, though some physicians have still prescribed it to treat COVID-19.
The FDA has not reviewed data to support the drug’s use as a COVID-19 treatment, but some initial research is underway. Calls to poison control centers across the U.S. have been on the rise in recent months as some Americans have been self-administering ivermectin.
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 to get poison control help online or call 1-800-222-1222