A Kiwi expert has issued a warning after an Australian COVID-19 case overdosed on Ivermectin and other so-called 'miracle drugs' in an attempt to cure themselves of the disease.
The Sydney case was suffering from explosive vomiting and diarrhoea after the cocktail of medications, and was rushed to Westmead Hospital's emergency department for treatment.
"Thankfully they didn't develop severe toxicity but it didn't help their COVID either," Westmead Hospital toxicologist Associate Professor Gunja told The Pulse.
The person is now well enough to have returned home, where they are recovering.
But a top New Zealand public health expert says it serves as a reminder to Kiwis there's no evidence Ivermectin - a deworming medicine usually used on farm animals - actually works to treat COVID-19.
"There is no real robust data to indicate that Ivermectin is a good treatment for COVID-19," Dr Bryan Betty, medical director of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, told Newshub.
"In fact, there's very conflicting evidence on Ivermectin and certainly no concrete evidence to say it should be used with COVID."
He says it has a very specific use - for treating intestinal parasite infections - and Kiwis shouldn't be trying it out for any other reason.
"There's no scientific basis for it at this point, [but] there is potential harm in terms of side-effects from the use of Ivermectin off label, and it shouldn't be used for COVID-related issues."
Dr Betty says there's a lot of misinformation around on the internet that isn't backed up by robust science and research.
"I think people need to be very, very careful on what they're reading on the internet or social media... the best thing is to talk to their doctor or nurse about appropriate ways forward in terms of thinking about treatments for COVID-19."
In April, New Zealand's Ministry of Health published an advisory urging Kiwis not to use Ivermectin as treatment or protection against COVID-19.
"There is no evidence that the compound has any efficacy against COVID-19 in humans. The Ministry of Health strongly recommends the public do not buy and treat themselves with Ivermectin for COVID-19," the advisory read.
"When ingested in high doses, Ivermectin can have a serious effect on humans, with symptoms including low blood pressure, worsening asthma, severe autoimmune disorders, seizures and liver damage."
Dr Betty says the evidence is always evolving, but there is scant evidence Ivermectin is effective for use in humans at this point.
Ivermectin has been touted as a 'miracle cure' for COVID-19 by members of the anti-vaccine community after studies indicated it could inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in cells in a lab setting.
The Ministry of Health says one of the studies is based on tests conducted in petri dishes, with the results achieved using a very high dose of the drug that has not been tested on people.
Despite a lack of evidence of its efficacy, Ivermectin continues to surge in popularity overseas - particularly in the United States, where the Food and Drug Administration has had to urge people to stop using it following a spate of hospitalisations.
Last month, Mississippi health officials announced more than 70 percent of recent calls to poison control helplines in the state were related to the ingestion of Ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centres.