Enlarge this image Health experts and medical groups are pushing to stamp out the growing use of ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, to treat COVID-19, amid warnings that it can cause harmful side effects and there's little evidence it helps. Denis Farrell/AP Denis Farrell/AP Poison control centers are seeing a dramatic surge in calls from people who are self-medicating with ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug for animals that some falsely claim treats COVID-19. According to the National Poison Data System (NPDS), which collects information from the nation's 55 poison control centers, there was a 245% jump in reported exposure cases from July to August — from 133 to 459. Meanwhile, emergency rooms across the country are treating more patients who have taken the drug, persuaded by false and misleading information spread on the internet, by talk show hosts and political leaders. Most patients are overdosing on a version of the drug that is formulated to treat parasites in cows and horses.