Rep. Louie Gohmert pushed ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19 late Friday despite recent warnings from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. Gohmert, Texas Republican, did not explicitly recommend using the anti-parasitic drug to prevent or treat the viral disease, but rather cited what he said was an article published earlier this year.
“I don’t know if y’all saw, but a month after President Trump left office, the American Journal of Medicine came out with a great article that they had discovered a regimen of medication that when taken together early in Covid that–you may have heard of it: hydroxychloroquine; ivermectin; a Z-Pak, azithromycin; zinc,” Mr. Gohmert said at the Texas Youth Summit, as seen in video captured by Mediaite.
Mr. Gohmert did not discuss the article further in the video. Attendees can be heard applauding when he began naming the drugs before he subsequently proceeded to recall having battled COVID-19 himself.
None of the substances mentioned by Mr. Gohmert have been clinically proven to be effective treatments for COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Mediaite noted.
Indeed, both the CDC and FDA issued alerts in recent days advising people against using ivermectin to attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19, warning it has not been proven effective and may lead to death.
The number of ivermectin prescriptions filled by retail pharmacies each week has increased from around 3,600 before the pandemic started, to over 88,000 for the week ending Aug. 13, the CDC said Thursday.
Relatedly, the CDC said ivermectin-related hospitalizations and calls to poison control centers have recently spiked as well. Adverse effects include nausea, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death.
In the alert, the CDC highlighted recent examples of adults who needed to be hospitalized after consuming ivermectin because they believed it would prevent or treat COVID-19.
The FDA issued a warning of its own days earlier advising people against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19 and warned the anti-parasitic drug could be “very dangerous” if taken improperly.
Research involving ivermectin and COVID-19 is underway, the FDA added. The CDC noted that currently there is insufficient data to recommend using the anti-parasitic drug to treat the disease, however.
The CDC said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the safest and most effective way to prevent severe illness or death from the disease, which has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S. since 2020.
Speaking at the summit, Mr. Gohmert, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2020, before the vaccines were available, lauded former President Trump for expediting their roll-out before raising concerns.
“He got the government out of the way so it could be developed quickly. The trouble is, these vaccines, they were only approved for emergency use,” said Mr. Gohmert.
The FDA on Monday fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. Other shots made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still being administered nationwide while pending full approval.
Fifty-two percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, including 81% of adults over the age of 65 and 60.8% of people ages 12 years old and up, according to the CDC.