Florida Poison Control sees uptick in ivermectin cases, Nikki Fried urges Gov. DeSantis to disavow use
Horese dewormer ivermectin is not an approved treatment for COVID-19.

Florida’s Poison Control Center has treated 27 ivermectin-related cases in August alone.

Florida Poison Control is reporting a significant uptick in cases and calls related to “inappropriate use of ivermectin made for livestock” after misinformation spread on social media continues to tout the anti-parasitic as an alternative treatment for COVID-19.

Ivermectin is a drug often used in livestock like horses and cows to treat parasites. The drug has not been approved for treatment of COVID-19, with the Food and Drug Administration releasing a statement emphasizing that is only approved for human consumption at specific dosages as an anti-parasitic in rare circumstances.

If taken incorrectly, the drug could have negative side effects in humans, who are typically much smaller than the animals the drug is used to treat.

Florida’s Poison Control Center has treated 27 ivermectin-related cases in August alone, which is more cases tied to the drug than the center saw in all of last year. Most of those cases involved the use of the livestock drug, which can be accessed at local feed stores, since the human dosage requires a prescription.

Despite the danger associated with improper usage of the medicine, some on social media point to the drug as a “miracle treatment” for coronavirus.

While some researchers have done some surface-level investigations between the drug and COVID-19, clinical trials of the drug “yielded insufficient evidence” to treat the virus.

Most often, those spreading the false claim of ivermectin’s effectiveness cite the Antiviral Research pre-publication paper, “The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.”

That research article described the effect of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting, according to the FDA.

“This type of study is commonly used in the early stages of drug development. Ivermectin was not given to people or animals in this study,” the FDA said. “Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be safe or effective to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.”

Ivermectin manufacturer Merck, added that there is “no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or efficacy in patients with COVID-19.”

Since then, the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both issued warnings against self-medicating with ivermectin, prompting the FDA to tweet, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has offered a response to the uptick in calls to the Florida Poison Control Center due to ivermectin and is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to publicly disavow the use of the drug in treating COVID-19.

“I urge the Governor to disavow those promoting false cures, and instead listen to the scientists and medical community when it comes to preventing and treating COVID-19 – promoting the safe and effective vaccines and encouraging mask wearing,” she said in a statement.

DeSantis has also come under fire for his relationship with a California psychiatrist who is promoting the use of the drug for treatment of COVID-19. That psychiatrist, Dr. Mark McDonald, was one of several out-of-state advisers who provided the Governor guidance amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The promotion of inappropriate use of this drug is irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous. There is no public health or scientific support for its use to treat or prevent COVID-19, and there are serious safety concerns when it comes to self-medicating and humans using medications intended for animals,” Fried continued.

She continued by urging individuals to speak with their doctors about treatments, not to rely on information found online.

“Individuals should look to their medical doctors when it comes to medical treatments – not online quacks. We must not allow a platform for such misinformation that is putting the well-being of Floridians at risk,” she said.

To note, the center has also seen an increase in calls from people who have taken too much zinc in an attempt to boost immunity. The center is urging people to follow the recommended daily dose to avoid complications.

Symptoms of adverse reactions from ivermectin include headache, dizziness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe or life-threatening effects include seizures, coma, low blood pressure and respiratory failure. 

For poison emergencies, immediately call the Florida Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, or text POISON to 797979.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Sonja Fitch

    August 28, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    Of course Duffus Desantis said Do it instead of a vaccine! Of course Duffus Desantis didn’t notice you weren’t a horse! Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children. Lock up this sorry piece of crap! Duffus Desantis you take it first. Get out Desantis!

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      September 2, 2021 at 7:49 pm

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  • Impeach Biden

    August 28, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    Frick and Frack with their daily anti-DeSantis, anti-Republican diatribe. Yawn.

  • Tom Palmer

    August 28, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Let’s let ignorant people use whatever they want

  • Peterh

    August 29, 2021 at 10:33 am


     Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been untouchable for the past year as he commanded the Republican culture wars to become heir apparent to Donald Trump. The latest coronavirus surge is starting to change that.
    Covid infection rates continue to climb as the state faces shortages of health care staff, morgue space and even oxygen for patients. About 16,000 people are hospitalized. 14 temporary refrigerated morgues are arriving to handle the ever accumulation of dead bodies. Crematoriums can’t dispose of Covid bodies fast enough.
    Child infection rates have shot up. School districts — even in Republican strongholds — have rebelled against DeSantis’ anti-mask mandates. And cruise lines are resisting DeSantis’ vaccine passport ban. Even his recent poll numbers are slipping.

    Authentic conservatives should join other like minded folks at the Lincoln project. Imaginary culture wars should have no place in the next iteration of the Republican Party!

  • Jim

    August 31, 2021 at 4:13 am

    He cannot stop talking about it – he gets a commission on every one sold .

  • What Works?

    September 2, 2021 at 9:56 am

    While, taking the incorrect ivermectin dose or non edible version of the drug is unwise and dangerous, ivermectin has been used for humans for decades for various uses.

    The question is not “will drinking the wrong stuff at the wrong dose harm you?” …. the question should be, “will the proper ivermectin at a proper dose actually help?” (Politics should play zero part in this question)


    The site has numerous studies (for those who care about actual data) that show that ivermectin helps to reduce viral load and even reduce the likelihood of mortality.

    Please don’t make this a political issue. We should care more about patient care than about political correctness. If it works, use it… if it doesn’t, so be it.

    Please, don’t discount this just because of a few people who overdose… I’m sure no one thinks that seatbelts don’t work because several people were hurt after not buckling up the right way.

Comments are closed.


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