Judge orders hospital staff to treat COVID-19 patient with livestock dewormer medicine

A new controversy has erupted regarding the use of a drug known as Ivermectin for treating COVID-19 patients, with a judge in Ohio ordering a local hospital to begin treating one of its patients with the drug after a lawsuit was filed.

According to The Hill, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Gregory Howard ruled last week that doctors at West Chester Hospital must begin providing the drug, normally used on livestock, to patient Jeffery Smith, who was originally denied the unconventional treatment. 

Smith, who is currently on a ventilator and battling COVID-19, received a prescription for the drug from Dr. Fred Wagshul, a physician who supports using Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.

Smith’s wife, Julie Smith, took West Chester Hospital to court after doctors there refused to administer 30mg of Ivermectin for three weeks as per her husband’s prescription.

FDA warnings

A statement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explained that Ivermectin was originally developed as a deworming agent to be used on livestock, but has since been approved for use among humans as well, particularly for parasitic infections.

The statement cautions that variants of the drug, which are intended for veterinary use, can present serious risks when ingested by people.

“The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses,” the statement read.

Approved in some cases

“Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms,” a statement on the FDA’s website reads.

“In addition, some topical (on the skin) forms of ivermectin are approved to treat external parasites like head lice and for skin conditions such as rosacea,” the statement continues.

The statement added: “Some forms of ivermectin are used in animals to prevent heartworm disease and certain internal and external parasites. It’s important to note that these products are different from the ones for people, and safe when used as prescribed for animals, only.”

That statement was publicized by the FDA in a tweet on Aug. 31 that read, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

Ivermectin has been touted by some in the medical community, and by some politicians, as a potential treatment for COVID-19, with the Wisconsin Examiner reporting that one of the high-profile proponents of using the medication for COVID-19 being Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

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