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Doctor warns Ivermectin animal paste is dangerous for humans & doesn’t help COVID-19

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 9:28 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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MARMADUKE, Ark. (KAIT) - Ivermectin paste sales are on the rise at farm supply stores because some people think it can cure COVID-19.

The paste used to treat worms in animals can be very harmful to humans, according to doctors and the FDA.

The Hound Feed and Supply store says they haven’t been able to keep the horse paste on the shelves. They don’t ask what people are buying it for, so they’re unsure if it’s for human consumption.

“We’ve seen a pretty good increase in ivermectin. I don’t know if it’s from cows getting wormy or other issues. It’s hard to get right now,” said William Shaw, sales associate.

Shaw says he noticed the increase two months ago. He says he doesn’t ask why people are buying the paste because he doesn’t think it’s any of his business.

They have to restock the shelves at least once a week. Often, it’s hard to get supplies because the paste is back-ordered.

Dr. Shane Speights with The New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine says the paste can cause several problems.

“Let’s say it was manufactured for a large horse, but a human takes it, it can create low blood pressure, rapid heart rates, seizures, there are even episodes where you can see layers of your skin fall off,” said Speights. “It can damage the liver, and there’s vision loss that can be associated.”

The drug is only meant to kill parasites.

“The way that it works is it actually paralysis the worm by attacking the nerve and muscle cells. COVID is a virus. COVID doesn’t have nerve or muscle cells, so the mechanism in which the drug works wouldn’t work for a virus,” said Speights.

Speights says there is also a version of the drug for humans, but it is not something you can get over the counter. It must be prescribed.

“Data is just not good on ivermectin right now for the treatment of COVID. One of the drug manufacturers even said don’t use it. The company that would actually make money off of it is saying that it shouldn’t be used for COVID,” said Speights.

Six other local stores say they have seen a huge increase in sales.

Maxwell’s in Paragould had to stop a customer from purchasing the paste because they intended on consuming it. An anonymous store in Missouri has customers who put it in their orange juice every morning. Tractor Supply Company has put out signs warning the paste isn’t for human consumption.

“Right now, the only answer to COVID is to be fully vaccinated,” said Speights.

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