New Mexico investigating 1st potential fatal poisoning from ivermectin

Health officials in New Mexico are investigating the state's first suspected case of fatal poisoning from ivermectin after a person self-administered the drug, USA Today reported Sept. 10. 

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," it said in an Aug. 21 consumer update. 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.


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