Overdoses of anti-parasite drug ivermectin overwhelm rural Oklahoma hospitals — leaving gunshot victims waiting for emergency rooms
- Hospitals in rural southeastern Oklahoma grapple with wave of ivermectin overdose patients
- So many patients are coming in with an overdose of the horse-grade drug that other serious injuries — such as gunshot wounds — have to wait
- Ivermectin is FDA-approved for human use and fights some parasite-related conditions, but has not been shown to fight viruses in humans
- Many buy versions of the drug intended for horses and other large animals, where doses are dangerous to humans
So many rural Oklahomans overdose on equine medication that it overwhelms local hospitals.
dr. Jason McElyea, a physician from Sallisaw, Oklahoma in the southeastern part of the state, told Oklahoma City’s KFO that hospitals in his region are becoming clogged with patients taking an overdose of ivermectin after using the drug to treat COVID-19.
Many people use ivermectin, which is FDA-approved for human use in some situations, in doses intended for large animals such as horses and overdose.
Overdose rates have become a community-wide problem as people in need of treatment for other problems, such as gunshot victims, are left at risk in the emergency room.
dr. Jason McElyea (pictured) told Oklahoma City’s KFOR that so many people in his rural Oklahoma community are overdosing on ivermectin that some local hospitals are overwhelming
“There’s a reason you need to see a doctor to get a prescription for this stuff because it can be dangerous,” McElyea told KFOR about the drug.
“…the emergency departments have such a backup that gunshot victims have had a hard time getting to facilities where they can receive definitive care and treatment.”
The increase in overdoses has meant that ambulances are also supported with calls.
“All their ambulances are stuck in the hospital, waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have one, nothing more,” the doctor told KFOR.
“If there’s no ambulance to call, there’s no ambulance to call.”
Ivermectin is safe to use in doses of about 200 micrograms and is commonly prescribed to people at those levels for conditions such as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.
However, it is not a treatment for viruses like Covid and has never demonstrated its ability to fight viral infections in humans.
The anti-parasite drug has been mistakenly considered by some as a possible treatment for COVID-19, after some misinterpreted it March 2020 study conducted in Australia.
Ivermectin is FDA-approved for human use in the control of certain parasite-related conditions. It has no known ability to fight viruses in the human body
dr. Timothy Geary, one of the world’s foremost experts on the drug, explained to DailyMail.com that the concentrations of the drug used in the study, which showed that ivermectin could inhibit virus replication, were so high that it could not be used on a person. .
The drug can be dangerous in large doses and can cause many potentially devastating side effects, such as blindness, nervous system damage, or even death.
McElyea reports that many in his community are taking the drug in dangerously high doses.
Many have received the drug over the counter and instead buy veterinary versions of it without a prescription from pet food stores.
However, a standard dose for a horse is much larger than a dose for a human, causing people to overdose on versions of the drug made for livestock.
“Some people who take inappropriate doses have put themselves in worse conditions than if they had received COVID,” McElyea said.
He told KFOR that he has seen patients who suffered from cramps, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting.
The worst cases seen are people who come in with vision loss after taking the drug.
McElyea reports that the tractor store in his area has sold out the drug, and he’s begging others in his community not to self-medicate with the potentially dangerous drug.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘If I’m on this drug, what should I do if something bad happens?’ What’s your next step, what’s your backup plan?’ he said.
“If you’re going to take a drug that could affect your health, do it with a doctor on board.
“…It’s not just something you search for on the internet and decide if it’s the right dose.”