TYLER, Texas (KETK)- More doctors are now prescribing ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
Despite the initial controversy over the livestock version of the medicine, it is now difficult to find ivermectin made for humans.
Some East Texas pharmacies told KETK News they’ve experienced an increase in customers coming in with prescriptions for ivermectin.
“We’re probably on some occasions dispensing as much in one day as we used to dispense in one year,” said Pharmacy Manager David Davis, with the Drug Emporium in Tyler.
He mentioned they currently have about seven boxes of the medication left in stock, and they’re constantly re-ordering more. It’s a surge in demand they aren’t used to seeing with this drug since it’s normally used to treat parasite infections in humans.
However, now some doctors started prescribing it for COVID-19 patients.
“There are a lot of doctors agreeing with the data that supports that,” added Davis. “It depends on the data that you believe. There’s also data out there that says it doesn’t work.”
He said local emergency rooms have been prescribing it to help patients symptoms.
“The belief is that it works to treat the virus, the COVID-19 virus to slow it down and to help people recover quicker,” explained Davis.
Ivermectin is also being prescribed as a COVID-19 preventative.
“Some of it is a prophylactic or a preventative use for COVID,” said Davis.
Not all medical experts agree with the sudden surge in ivermectin prescriptions.
Dr. Tom Cummins of UT Health East Texas said the following about the drug a few weeks ago:
“It doesn’t work, it’s not safe. It can cause a lot of nausea and vomiting, but the worst thing about it is it can cause liver damage liver failure.” He stated this when asked about both the livestock and human doses.
The human version is only available through prescription, which is why those eager to get their hands on the drug sooner are turning to the livestock version.
However, doctors and pharmacists advise against it.
“I cannot and do not recommend that you go to the feed store and get animal ivermectin. It’s dosed for horses and cattle, and we are not horses and cattle,” said Davis.
Overall, Davis said patients have reported positive outcomes with the human version.
“If your physician agrees and you’re acceptable to that, I would certainly if it were me. I would certainly give it a try,” he added.
Davis hasn’t heard any of his customers experience bad reactions to ivermectin. The one side effect he has heard of is a mild upset stomach.