Austin Public Health discouraging using ivermectin to treat COVID-19

Austin Public Health (APH) is warning against individuals using medications not intended, prescribed or approved for COVID-19 treatment, including ivermectin.

The Food and Drug Administration said ivermectin is not an antiviral drug, meaning it isn’t used for treating viruses. It’s only approved for use in humans to combat certain internal conditions caused by parasitic worms and external parasites like headlice.

The FDA also warns that taking large doses of the drug Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 and its variants can be dangerous and cause serious harm to humans.

"If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at risk for severe illness, do not endanger yourself any further by taking an unapproved medication intended for livestock suffering from worms," said Dr.  Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "With a recommendation from a health care provider and a call to 3-1-1, individuals can receive monoclonal antibody therapy, the same treatment that many top leaders around the world have received to aid in their recovery process. It is a free and a scientifically proven treatment that is readily available to the community."  

An expanded therapeutic infusion center in Austin is providing monoclonal antibody therapy to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and is at risk of severe illness. The infusion center, which has the capacity to treat up to 84 patients a day, seven days a week, provides an early treatment that reduces the need for care at area hospitals.

Anyone who has early symptoms of COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider immediately after receiving a positive diagnosis to receive more information about monoclonal antibody infusion. Treatment is free and requires a referral from a health care provider. Individuals who do not have insurance or a healthcare provider can contact Community Care, Peoples Community Clinic and Lonestar Circle of Care to see a provider for a referral to the infusion center. 

The infusion treatment center for monoclonal antibody therapy is a partnership among the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Capital Regional Trauma Advisory Council, and Travis County with the support to Austin Public Health. Individuals can call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 for more information.

For additional information on COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and other services offered by APH, click here.

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