Before the COVID pandemic, I had never heard of the drug ivermectin. It is a drug used for an odd and rare array of human intestinal parasites. It also has application in veterinary medicine to treat pets and livestock with intestinal parasites. There is a topical form used to control pediculosis (lice, etc.) and it also can be used for a skin condition call rosacea. Prescriptions for this drug rose almost 24 times the rate before the pandemic.

One glaring piece of misinformation early in the pandemic derived from a study that found ivermectin controlled the spread of coronavirus in cell cultures. This led to many uninformed and less discerning patients and some physicians and veterinarians using and prescribing this drug to help prevent or cure coronavirus infections. The case for the use of ivermectin was closed early when absolutely no data confirmed the efficacy of this drug in controlling or treating COVID-19.

What was obvious about the use of ivermectin was that the toxic effects of this drug could easily occur in many cases because many patients were taking the drug without supervision. Calls to the Oregon Poison Center usually received less than one call per month regarding ivermectin exposure. The number of calls rose to 21 per month during August of 2021.

Toxic effects, which included gastrointestional distress, confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, and seizures were examples of problems caused by ivermectin that could have been avoided if not for this misinformation.