Shared Health warns against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19

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Poison control centres across Canada are seeing an increase in reports of people using ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19, according to an advisory from Health Canada issued on Tuesday. However, is this an issue in Manitoba?

A spokesperson for Shared Health said they are not aware of any overdoses in the province involving ivermectin -- a drug used to fight parasite infestations most commonly in large animals .

The spokesperson said while they are not certain how many people have used ivermectin to treat COVID-19, they do know it is taking place.

As of Oct. 8, the Manitoba Poison Centre has not seen an increase in calls related to ivermectin compared to other years, according to Shared Health, and Health Links has not received any calls on this matter.

Shared Health is reminding Manitobans that Health Canada has not approved ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, and people should only be getting their information from reliable sources.

“Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus should get tested and follow the advice of medical professionals, who can provide clinically approved treatment if necessary,” the spokesperson said.

“Of course, the best way for Manitobans to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.”

In its advisory, Health Canada said that there is no evidence that ivermectin works as a treatment for COVID-19 and it has not authorized the drug for this type of use. The health agency has also not received any drug submissions or applications for clinical trials for ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.

Health Canada has only authorized ivermectin for human use as a prescription drug for the treatment of parasitic worm infections. It emphasizes that prescription drugs should only be taken under the advice and supervision of a health-care professional or else a person may receive inappropriate treatment for their health.

“They may also put themselves at risk for drug interactions or harmful side effects,” Health Canada said.

“Canadians should never consume health products intended for animals because of potential serious health risks, including seizures, coma and even death.”

Health Canada notes that it is illegal to sell or advertise a drug in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive. The health agency said it will take action if it learns of any illegal marketing activities regarding the use ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.