Covid restrictions: Boris Johnson quizzed on wearing facemasks

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The drug, called ivermectin, became popular in the US following the outbreak of the contagious Delta variant. But as interest in the drug soared, the effectiveness of preventing the virus did not. That is because this drug is typically used on horses and cattle. But having been used on humans, it promoted a spike to poison control centres across the US.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already warned people not to take this drug.

They stressed that no form of ivermectin has ever been approved to treat or prevent COVID-19.

In a Tweet in August, the FDA wrote: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, stop it.”

In the most recent report on the drug, researchers detailed a dangerous list of possible side effects from taking the drug intended for animals.

Included on the list was confusion, loss of control over body movement (“ataxia”), weakness, low blood pressure, seizures, gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, vision symptoms or rash.

The side effects can come on if you take too much of the drug or if you combine it with other medicines that you are already taking.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Hendrickson, associate medical director of the Oregon Poison Center, in Portland, said: “It’s very easy to give yourself too much.

“Most people who develop symptoms probably took too much, but we did have several people who were taking it for days and weeks and then developed toxicity.

“It’s an unusual medication in that it has a lot of interactions, so even if you’re taking the normal dose prescribed for other disorders, you can get sick because of interactions with other medications.

“It’s usually a medication we’re fairly careful with.”

Dr Hendrickson also explained that it’s possible for ivermectin to accumulate in your brain.

He said: “That’s where most of the toxicity is — you get off balance, you get confused and feel weak — that’s where most of the interactions are.”

While some early studies did seem to hint that ivermectin could prevent COVID-19 from entering cells, it has not proved to be effective in humans.

But worryingly, the drug continues to be promoted by COVID-19 anti-vaccination protesters (Anti-vaxxers), despite there being no proof that the drug works to prevent or treat the virus.

In Dr Hendrickson’s study, his research team reviewed ivermectin-related calls to the Oregon Poison Center in August.

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21 people reported side effects after taking the drug.

The majority of reports came from above the age of 60.

11 reports were from people who took ivermectin to prevent COVID-19.

The other 10 took the drug to treat symptoms of the virus.

Three people had received a prescription from a doctor or veterinarian, but 17 people purchased veterinary versions of the drug.

The researchers do not know where the others got hold of the drug.

Six of the 21 were hospitalized for toxic effects from ivermectin, and four were sent to the intensive care unit.

Dr Hendrickson said there isn’t any treatment for the side effects of ivermectin.

He warned: “It’s just a matter of waiting and supportive care.”

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