Austin doctor prescribing anti-parasite drug to COVID-19 patients, says resistance is politically motivated
Doctor acknowledges drug is less effective against Delta Variant, prefers vaccine
AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - Some Central Texas doctors are prescribing Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and countless medical organizations.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasite medication that exists in a form suitable for humans and another form suitable for animals. It is used to eliminate parasites like round worms.
In recent months, the drug has become popular as a treatment for COVID-19. While most doctors, in line with the CDC and FDA, refuse to prescribe the drug, a few do.
Dr. Cliff Porter of Texas Direct Medical Care in Austin told News 10 he has prescribed the drug to hundreds of patients in the past year despite the fact that it is not FDA approved to be used as a COVID-19 treatment.
Porter said the drug is safe and resistance to its use is largely politically motivated.
“Some of these larger corporate-like clinics get stuck in an algorithm and they’re waiting for the CDC to tell them what to do,” Dr. Porter said.
“And the CDC and NIH, they develop data over months to years to come up with guidelines. Well, that’s way behind for the person who is coming to my clinic this week. We have to come up with things immediately,” he said.
Dr. Porter says because most doctors refuse to prescribe the drug, he has seen desperate patients from all over the state and country. In addition to Ivermectin, he also offers another controversial treatment drug-- hydroxychloroquine.
“Don’t worry about whether the government is saying do this, do that. The American instinct is not to trust the government and sometimes very healthy,” Porter said.
The doctor said he has reduced his prescription of hydroxychloroquine since the COVID-19 vaccine became more widely available.
Porter said the vaccine is a more effective preventative measure against the virus.
He also says Ivermectin is less effective against the new Delta variant of the virus because it is so contagious. “Using higher and higher doses, what we are risking is side effects that we don’t have a lot of research on. So as the virus shifts, we have to shift,” Porter said.
He said he was mostly using the drug prior to COVID-19 vaccines becoming available.
Meanwhile, the Texas Poison Center Network is echoing the message of the CDC, reporting that calls to its centers have tripled from people harmed by ingesting the drug.
“I’m seeing a lot of weakness, a lot of sensory loss, a lot of hearing change, vision change and some folks, a good number, are sleepy enough that they’re comatose in an ICU with a ventilator breathing for them,” said Dr. Ryan Morrissey, an emergency room doctor at Baylor Scott and White and the Medical Director for the Texas Poison Center Network.
Porter insists a patient taking Ivermectin at a mild dosage may only experience mild symptoms like an upset stomach.
Despite vast disagreements with much of the medical community, Porter agrees with them that the animal version of Ivermectin should never be used on humans.
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