Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Austin-Travis County Public Health Leaders: Skip the Horse Medicine and Get a Referral for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Austin Public Health discourages use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 

As misinformation continues to spread on the Internet about COVID-19, Austin Public Health (APH) is warning against individuals using medications not intended, prescribed or approved for COVID-19 treatment. 

The Food and Drug Administration warns (FDA) 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. Ivermectin, commonly used to treat parasitic worms in horses and cattle. While Ivermectin is occasionally formulated and prescribed for human use, it is not an anti-viral drug approved by the FDA and is not effective in treating viruses like COVID-19. When prescribed for humans, Ivermectin is used to treat head lice, some parasitic worms and skin conditions. 

"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. During a surge, there is a rising concern of improper use of Ivermectin which may lead to further unnecessary increases in hospital visits. 

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 State of Texas Department of Health and Human Services, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Capital Regional Trauma Advisory Council, and Travis County with the support to Austin Public Health. To receive more information individuals can call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000.  

For additional information on COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and other services offered by APH visit https://www.austintexas.gov/covid19