Shortages of the veterinary version of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin are being reported by distributors and feed stores across the country as many people are misusing it to fight COVID-19.
The problem has caused frustration among some horse owners, who cannot find the medicine to treat their animals.
Ivermectin has been the center of public attention in recent months after rumors on social media led many to believe the drug could treat or prevent COVID-19.
While the drug is safe for human use in small doses and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many use versions of the drug made for large animals such as horses, leading to an increase in poison control calls.
QC Supply (pictured) a distributor of veterinary medicines, has reported that the anti-parasite drug ivermectin is running out after many started using it to treat Covid
V&V Tack and Feed (pictured) started requiring people to show a picture of themselves with a horse in order to buy ivermectin. Many horse owners are struggling to find the drug because of a recent stampede
Pictured: A sign at V&V Tack & Feed requiring buyers of ivermectin to have a photo of their horse to hand
“There was immediate frustration from retailers who felt it necessary to put ivermectin-labeled products behind counters or locked in suitcases,” Cliff Williamson, director of health and regulatory affairs at the American Horse Council, told the Washington Post.
‘Shoppers now go through extra steps to obtain equine medication.’
Several stores and suppliers that sell the product are reporting shortages.
According to The Guardian, QC Supply, a distributor from Nebraska, has run out of ivermectin paste for horses.
A Las Vegas store, V&V Tack and Feed, even began requiring people to show pictures of themselves with their horses to buy the drug to prevent abuse.
“I had a gentleman inside, and he was an older gentleman. He told me his wife wanted him to be part of the Ivermectin plan,” Shelly Smith, a V&V employee, told News Channel 5 in Nashville.
“I brought him here right away because I had this sign put up at the time, and I told him this isn’t safe for you to take with you. And he says, “Well, we took it, and my only side effect is that I can’t see in the morning.”
“That’s a big side effect, so you probably shouldn’t take it.”
Fleet Farm, an online retailer where ivermectin can be purchased, is also currently issuing a warning about the drug.
“Despite media reports that ivermectin could potentially be used to treat people with Covid-19, these products are not safe or approved for human use, which could cause serious personal injury or death,” the website says, as reported by The Guardian.
Many Americans buy equine versions of ivermectin. While the drug is safe for human consumption, doses made for horses are too high for humans and can cause overdoses
Rumors and falsehoods about the drug’s ability to fight viruses such as Covid are based on an Australian study from the start of the pandemic, which found that the drug could inhibit the replication of the virus cells.
Many took the study and got on with it, pushing ivermectin as a Covid treatment and even as a possible vaccine replacement.
Some prominent figures even supported the drug, such as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingrham.
dr. Timothy Geary, one of the world’s foremost parasitology experts, told the DailyMail.com last month that the results of the study could not be translated to humans because the concentrations of the drug used are too high to be safe.
‘In that study they showed that ivermectin can inhibit in cell cultures’ [Covid] replication, but the concentrations needed for that effect were in a range called the micromolar range — very high concentrations compared to what you’d find in the plasma of a treated person or animal, which would be 20 to 50 times lower be,” he said. .
‘At high concentrations in cell culture, many compounds can have all kinds of effects, but if you look at what we would call pharmacological levels – what we actually see and treat patients – it is much higher than [what would be used in humans]
“So the standard doses of ivermectin that we use for humans will never reach the levels that would be effective against the virus based on that one study.”
Geary assured DailyMail.com that the drug was safe to use in standard human doses, and that there are few negative side effects when used properly.
Unfortunately, many do not use the drug properly and cause harm to themselves.
Poison centers across the country are reporting a spate of recent calls to treat ivermectin overdoses.
Many of the overdoses are relatively minor and no deaths have been reported from the drug itself, although some have chosen to use ivermectin rather than seek medical treatment when infected with the virus.
Top Ivermectin Expert Says Drug Doesn’t Treat COVID-19
dr. Timothy Geary, one of the world’s foremost experts on ivermectin, says the drug lacks any effectiveness in fighting viruses.
Geary, the research chair in Parasite Biotechnology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, says the 2020 study that spawned much of the ivermectin craze is not being read correctly.
dr. Timothy Geary (pictured) is one of the top experts on ivermectin and has been researching the drug for over a decade
He told DailyMail.com that the study did show that ivermectin could inhibit the replication of COVID-19 virus cells, which many read from the study leading them to believe that the drug has virucidal properties.
However, Geary explained that the concentration of the drug used in the study was so high that it could not be used for treatment in a human and would likely cause an overdose.
‘In that study, they showed that ivermectin could inhibit in cell cultures’ [Covid] replication, but the concentrations needed for that effect were in a range called the micromolar range — very high concentrations compared to what you’d find in the plasma of a treated person or animal, which would be 20 to 50 times lower to be.’
However, he doesn’t see too much harm in people taking the drug in human doses, as Geary assures it is safe for consumption.
It’s safe to use in doses of about 200 micrograms, and even people who use it to mishandle Covid are unlikely to develop serious symptoms.
“There is no significant toxicity from those doses,” Geary says.
He also said the drug has been used billions of times between humans and animals and has never shown any ability to fight viruses outside of the lab.
The quintessential ivermectin prescribed by doctors, in pill form in small doses
But many Americans have problems with ivermectin because they don’t take the versions of the drug prescribed by doctors.
Instead, many find their own over-the-counter solutions, especially going to local feed stores and buying medicines intended for horses, cows and sheep.
Prescription versions of the drug come in pill form, while these versions are liquid.
The dosages are also much larger, intended for an animal that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds, not a person who can weigh less than a fifth of that.
Taking too large doses can cause a person to experience nausea, body aches, diarrhea, swelling of limbs, and other serious side effects.
In more severe cases, a person can overdose and suffer serious damage to the central nervous system, and possibly even death.