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Medicine Science

Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine 173

Posted by timothy
from the fake-fake-vs-real-fake dept.
ananyo (2519492) writes "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled homeopathic remedies made by a company called Terra-Medica because they may contain actual medicine — possibly penicillin or derivatives of the antibiotic." Diluted enough times with pure water, though, maybe these traces would be even more powerful.
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Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine

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  • Sarcasm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:26AM (#46592043)
    I think many people are going to miss the sarcasm in the summary.
    • Re:Sarcasm (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:35AM (#46592125)

      No, it's not sarcasm! It's the gospel truth in how it works!
      FREE XENU!

    • That's okay (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:36AM (#46592137)

      Diluted humor is funnier to those who actually get it.

    • Re:Sarcasm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:37AM (#46592153) Homepage

      I though the idea of homeopathic water was to dilute the percieved cause* of the ailment. Should diluting a helpful ingredient be considered harmful then?

      *) for very, VERY loose definitions of "cause".

      • by Mjlner (609829)

        I though the idea of homeopathic water was to dilute the percieved cause* of the ailment. Should diluting a helpful ingredient be considered harmful then?

        Quite so, which is why diluted vitamin C will eventually kill you.

      • Re:Sarcasm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:36AM (#46592581) Journal

        Within the insane homeopathic industry, that's correct. However, penicillin isn't always a helpful ingredient to everyone. Some are deathly allergic. So for those people it would "help" according to people who lack any cognitive function measurable by modern science.

        Also relevant:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • Re:Sarcasm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bacon Bits (926911) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:43PM (#46593775)

        Should diluting a helpful ingredient be considered harmful then?

        "Helpful" is not necessarily true. It's possible to have a life-threatening allergy to penicillin.

        Additionally, all antibiotics intended for human medical use are legally available only with a prescription in the US.

        • Re:Sarcasm (Score:4, Informative)

          by cusco (717999) <brian...bixby@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:58PM (#46593929)

          While at the same time you can go down to the feed store and buy the very same antibiotics, nominally for animal use, by the liter.

          • by jythie (914043)
            Yeah, but they are not marketed for human consumption nor do they claim to contain no antibiotics.
            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              Yeah, but they are not marketed for human consumption nor do they claim to contain no antibiotics.

              I would not expect any animal antibiotics I buy to have a claim that they contain no antibiotics. That would defeat the purpose of animal antibiotics, wouldn't it?

              • by jythie (914043)
                That it would, but then again homeopathic remedies kinda defeat the purpose of remedies.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        A toxin is bad for you. Therefore, less of the toxin is better for you. Even less of it is even better. Therefore by induction, diluting it down until it no longer exists should be amazingly good for you!

        But basically this theory came about at the time when medicine science was already very bad. Thus a bogus theory by a charlatan was not much different from the state of the art in medicine, and probably better for you than leeches or being treated by doctors who didn't wash their hands. The only odd th

    • Re:Sarcasm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:37AM (#46592155)

      Except that the sarcasm gets it wrong. The idea of homeopathy (as its name indicates) is to cause the body to fight against the effects of the diluted substances. So diluted penicillin would make the body fight antibiotics rather than bacterial infections.

      If you believe in homeopathy, traces of antibiotics are a really bad idea to have in homeopathic medication. And if you don't believe in homeopathy, there is no point in buying the medication in the first place.

      So yes, it makes complete sense to withdraw the medication that is contaminated with penicilline. Depending on the dosage, it can actually be dangerous or counterproductive to people with penicilline allergies. But even if we are talking about homeopathic traces, you don't want them in there if homeopathy is supposed to make sense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > And if you don't believe in homeopathy, there is no point in buying the medication in the first place.

        So homeopathy is one of those things that requires faith to work? Very scientific indeed.

        • > And if you don't believe in homeopathy, there is no point in buying the medication in the first place.

          So homeopathy is one of those things that requires faith to work? Very scientific indeed.

          So, could I in theory make a homoeopathic bomb. As it becomes more powerful the more it's diluted, eventually I could just rid the world of stupid people.

      • by cyborg_zx (893396)

        I don't think the people selling this believed in homeopathy somehow.

        • by meerling (1487879)
          They believe in the money. It doesn't matter how gullible and ignorant the buyer is, the money is still money and works just the same. Unlike homeopathy, which doesn't work at all.
      • Re:Sarcasm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MiniMike (234881) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:26AM (#46592511)

        Depending on the dosage, it can actually be dangerous or counterproductive to people with penicilline allergies.

        I'm allergic to Penicillin (and similar *cillins), and to idiocy, so this 'remedy' would be doubly dangerous for me.

      • Wait, Homeopathy is like vaccination???? Does it cause Autism?

        • Wait, Homeopathy is like vaccination????

          Yep.

          For a long time allergists and allergy desensitization treatments were disparaged by much of the medical community because of the procredure's similarity to Homeopathic treatments and theory.

          Does it cause Autism?

          Nope.

          Neither, apparently, does vaccination. If I recall correctly: The research claiming to show that was sponsored by trial lawyers, many attempts were made to replicate it but they all failed, the journal which published it (and, eventually, even the d

          • Re:Sarcasm (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:29PM (#46593639)

            The research claiming to show that was sponsored by trial lawyers, many attempts were made to replicate it but they all failed,

            Worse than that, it was shown that Wakefield (the fraud who did the bogus study) selected the children in the study because they were already showing the symptoms he was looking to blame on vaccination, then gave them vaccines, blamed their symptoms on the vaccines, and gave them painful, unnecessary tests to "prove" how harmful the vaccination was. This was all so that he could (after being paid to do so) discredit vaccines in order to promote a snake-oil "alternative" immunization method, which was also shown to be completely useless. And of course, blind to the irony, the anti-vaccine movement quite often claims vaccines are there only because the doctors are being paid off, and you should "follow the money" to see proof. (which they never actually do...)

            the journal which published it (and, eventually, even the doctor who performed it) withdrew it.

            Well, the journal withdrew it, yes. Wakefield didn't though, instead he himself was withdrawn, and had his medical license taken away as a result of his unethical behavior.

        • Only if you believe in it.

          Though I'm not sure which causes which.

      • by quantaman (517394)

        Except that the sarcasm gets it wrong. The idea of homeopathy (as its name indicates) is to cause the body to fight against the effects of the diluted substances.

        It just occurred to me that this is actually kind of how vaccines work. Of course a homeopath would likely just give you a shot of diluted live virulent Ebola (lots of fun if you get some active ingredient!)

  • Homeopothy ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:29AM (#46592077)

    Even though it's been diluted to the point where just about every single molecule has been replaced, it can somehow remember all the good stuff it used to contain.

    And yet, for some strange reason, it doesn't remember the fact that it used to contain bovine fecal matter and all sorts of other bad stuff.

    That's the bit I find curious, although maybe that's where the bovine fecal matter shines through :-)

    • by cyborg_zx (893396)

      And yet, for some strange reason, it doesn't remember the fact that it used to contain bovine fecal matter and all sorts of other bad stuff.

      Only works when done in a pseudo-sciency way by a homeopathic practitioner - of course.

      • Re:Homeopothy ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:36AM (#46592583) Homepage

        How come the homeopathic practitioners don't just row out into the sea and throw their goose livers in there? They could cure all diseases overnight. They must be mean capitalists if they're not doing things like that.

        • Re:Homeopothy ... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cyborg_zx (893396) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:50AM (#46592725)

          How come the homeopathic practitioners don't just row out into the sea and throw their goose livers in there? They could cure all diseases overnight. They must be mean capitalists if they're not doing things like that.

          Where's the little glass bottles? Where's the shaking? Where's the successive titrations? You're not applying the true principles here, just a ludicrous caricature! That's why what you propse won't work. Not because it's a fundamentally incorrect Victorian era disease hypothesis.

        • How come the homeopathic practitioners don't just row out into the sea and throw their goose livers in there? They could cure all diseases overnight. They must be mean capitalists if they're not doing things like that.

          Simple reason. It won't be diluted enough and thus not very potent. I mean you can't get that 1 part in 1.0x10^200 dilution by dumping a goose liver, and even if you could how would you manage to do that magic shake on an ocean full of water at once. Probably at best they could only manage a 1 part in 1.0x10^20 to 1 part in 1.0x10^30, which wouldn't be any where near strong enough, using that method.

    • Even though it's been diluted to the point where just about every single molecule has been replaced, it can somehow remember all the good stuff it used to contain.

      And yet, for some strange reason, it doesn't remember the fact that it used to contain bovine fecal matter and all sorts of other bad stuff.

      That's the bit I find curious, although maybe that's where the bovine fecal matter shines through :-)

      Fish urine.

    • Re:Homeopothy ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MiniMike (234881) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:22AM (#46592485)

      And yet, for some strange reason, it doesn't remember the fact that it used to contain bovine fecal matter

      This condition is transferred to the homeopathic practitioner.

      I've met a few, and the transfer is very effective.

      • I get a strong sense of the bovine fecal matter just from reading the texts on the packaging. That stuff is quite potent!
    • by qazsedcft (911254) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @10:44AM (#46592663)
      And it's been drunk by at least one dinosaur [xkcd.com] too.
    • by nblender (741424)

      So what happens if you make a 30x dilution of bull feces and administer it to someone who believes in Homeopathy?

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Don't forget, homeopathy is not just about dluting the substances. You must also shake or strike the mixture after every dilution, so that water retains the vibrations of the original substance.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:32AM (#46592093) Homepage

    The subject line quite literally had me laughing out loud.
    Without doubt the funniest thing I've encountered this week, perhaps even this month.

  • this comment has been diluted 100,000 times to be politically correct.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At least it would have been if all of the other posts before this one had been diluted enough.

  • Tap Water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:41AM (#46592189)

    I believe "contains actual medicine" could be said of tap water.

    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo... [rsc.org]

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:45AM (#46592223) Homepage Journal
    by those who were using this quack remedy?

    I can almost hear the screams of terror when the news was announced:

    "WHAT?! There's REAL medicine in this? Holy shit, that stuff will kill me!"
  • by Kinthelt (96845) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:49AM (#46592269) Homepage

    Shouldn't sea water be considered a wonder drug in homeopathy, because everything eventually makes its way into the ocean and gets ultra-diluted.

    • by Mjlner (609829)

      Shouldn't sea water be considered a wonder drug in homeopathy, because everything eventually makes its way into the ocean and gets ultra-diluted.

      Well, I hear that diluted sea water is a very effective cure against drowning.

    • Shouldn't sea water be considered a wonder drug in homeopathy, because everything eventually makes its way into the ocean and gets ultra-diluted.

      No. A homeopathic remedy is typically diluted by a factor of one hundred, one hundred times. So one liter of original substance would be diluted by 1e200. All the world's oceans contain about 1.35e9 cubic km, or 1.35e21 liters. So diluting with the ocean would be shy by 179 orders of magnitude.

      • You know, if you want to go down that road we should examine the number of atoms in the universe (~1e80) and determine that a 1e200 solution needs to tap the multiverse for another 1e120 universes to dilute down to an effective mixture. See, physics just hasn't caught up to homeopathy yet, but the cure to all our ills is just a multiverse away!
  • by meustrus (1588597) <meustrus AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:57AM (#46592317)

    It's about damn time something was done to fix this homeopathic mess. Read the Wikipedia article on Homeopathy [wikipedia.org] for a moment. The thing that struck me about it is not the "diluting makes it stronger" part. Everybody knows that. What struck me is that "homeopathic remedies" are basically always prescription-only.

    Why do we allow non-prescription drugs to bypass FDA inspection because they are labelled "homeopathic"? I mean, truly homeopathic drugs should not be any cause for concern, but then they should also only be taken by prescription. What we have instead is a menagerie of sham drugs claiming to be "homeopathic" to avoid drug testing. Nothing 1x or 2x diluted should ever seriously be sold as "homeopathic".

    It's about damn time to get rid of the special treatment altogether. Slapping a "homeopathic" label on a drug must not be enough to excuse it from proper testing. I could understand it it was diluted 10x, but then that only applies to the "active ingredient". What we have here is a drug with an "inactive ingredient" that happens to be penicillin (whether it was intentionally added or not - and excuse me, but what part of diluting a homeopathic drug involves "fermentation"?).

    Alternative medicine is one thing, but it's something else if the producers themselves mix the product with real medicine because they think it is actually snake oil.

    • Homeopathic remedies are not 'prescription', if by that you mean an approval from a licensed Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Doctor of Medical Dentistry or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (and some other practitioners depending on the state*.

      Homeopathic remedies are approved by the FDA because some Congresscritter decided it was a good idea for the FDA to follow the manufacturing practices of these 'pharmacies'. And that is exactly what the FDA did. They found that the level of manufacturing quality w

  • by Mjlner (609829) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:58AM (#46592327) Journal

    Diluted enough times with pure water, though, maybe these traces would be even more powerful.

    According to the homeopathic principle, its efficacy would be directed at ailments caused by penicillin.

  • They were recalled for saying "no antibiotics" on the package but having measurable amounts of them in the product.

    In my dream world, this should have been a joint effort by the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission.

    • In your dream world you'd involve two huge government bureaucracies when one accomplished the recall without the other? I can see handing off from one to the other if they were still causing the problem and the first agency was unable to change the behavior. Maybe we should think a bit before pulling in all the coordination costs up front though when they may not be necessary.

  • by capedgirardeau (531367) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:31AM (#46593087)

    This happens all the time, some quack alt "medicine" is recalled because it actually contains a known effective drug. Most often it is "herbal" dick pills that contain the active ingredient in traditional ED medications.

    Getting on the "Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts for U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)" email list can be very entertaining:

    http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ContactFDA/StayInformed/GetEmailUpdates/default.htm [fda.gov]

  • by Sir Holo (531007) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:33AM (#46593109)
    I got marked troll last time I said this, but it is true.

    Several of my local pharmacies have "homeopathic cures" sections.

    A pretty clear violation of ethics, I would think.
    • My local pharmacist carries these as well. I know them fairly well and this is a source of endless entertainment on my part (I'm a 'classic' MD). They do it for money. Plain and simple.

      And, to be fair, the stuff is generally less dangerous than the stuff I prescribe which fails to work a distressingly high percentage of the time.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      You can cure homeopathy?

  • by careysub (976506) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @11:51AM (#46593269)

    The fact that an inert placebo product is being contaminated by some random active pharmaceutical is funny, true, but contamination is contamination. A consumer product is contaminated with something it is not supposed to have; and low levels of antibiotic are actively harmful, not helpful. Since a safe product is rendered measurably unsafe, it is good that this was caught. Drug manufacturers regularly demonstrate that without monitoring and regulation bad products will enter the marketplace.

  • I think the article is making a slight mistake here. Yes, idiots make dilluted homeopathic bullshit with like 1 molecule of snake venom maybe on average or whatever. But technically Zicam is classified as homeopathic and that's scientifically proven in multiple lab tests to stop a cold by preventing viruses from attaching to cell walls. It actually contains zinc and says it contains zinc too. So technically "homeopathic" doesn't necessarily mean it's that 14th century alchemist watered down magic bullsh
  • I have invented a homeopathic work-around for the concerned.

    I have just discovered a way to dilute the diluted water itself! Placing the homeopathic pure water solution into a crystal goblet near a west facing window during the week prior to and/or following the summer solstice will dilute the water with pure sunlight!

    Soon one will notice that the water itself has been completely diluted and is filled with the radioactive echo of the quantum entangled liquid. Be warned: You must drink the entire cup of sunlight energy & air diluted liquid; Resist the urge to take a small sip or else the dosage dilution in your body will be so powerful you may overdose on the potent hot air.

    DISCLAIMER: Consult a local fire station immediately at the first sign of smoke as it may blow up your ass!

  • My constant reminder how diluted and deluded must somehow belong together.

  • by PJ6 (1151747) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @09:48PM (#46599139)
    What I find more confusing is that I know of at least two products labelled "homeopathic" that actually work because they contain real medicine at resonable concentrations ("2x HPUS", or even "1xHPUS"). ZICAM contains zinc glycine glucconate, which had been proven in double-blind clinical trials to reduce the severity and length of a common cold (and I can attest to this from personal experience), and Arnica gel, which contains a powerful anti-inflammatory extracted from a plant. Another product that I know from personal experience that actually works pretty damn well.

    Can someone explain to me why the FDA thinks is OK to label real medicine "homeopathic"? And why would a company chose to label real medicine "homeopathic", when it's likely to put off people who know that homeopathy is bunk?

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