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Homeopathy gets a smackdown by the hands of MSNBC

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on June 17, 2009

Following the wake of the Zicam issue, MSNBC published quite a smackdown of homeopathy as a whole, a rarely heard off thing to do in the world of mass media.

But an Associated Press analysis of the Food and Drug Administration’s side effect reports found that more than 800 homeopathic ingredients were potentially implicated in health problems last year. Complaints ranged from vomiting to attempted suicide.

I guess homeopathic solutions are not “free of side effects” after all.

In its review of homeopathy, the AP also found that:

  • Active homeopathic ingredients are typically diluted down to 1 part per million or less, but some are present in much higher concentrations. The active ingredient in Zicam is 2 parts per 100.
  • The FDA has set strict limits for alcohol in medicine, especially for small children, but they don’t apply to homeopathic remedies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said no medicine should carry more than 5 percent alcohol. The FDA has acknowledged that some homeopathic syrups far surpass 10 percent alcohol.
  • The National Institutes of Health’s alternative medicine center spent $3.8 million on homeopathic research from 2002 to 2007 but is now abandoning studies on homeopathic drugs. “The evidence is not there at this point,” says the center’s director, Dr. Josephine Briggs.

They’re cheating! While screaming out about water memory and dilutions and stuff, they have “homeopathic” remedies with concentrations of 2,000 times  of what a homeopathic solution should have. The homeopaths are using active ingredients! Hahnemann must be turning in his grave!

To this day, homeopaths put forth mystical-sounding explanations involving “vital force” and “healing energy.” And with arcane ingredients like “nux vomica” and “arsenicum album,” many homeopathic medicines sound like something brewed in a druid’s kettle.

That’s just funny. I wanted to make this my skepquote of the day, but then I decided to comment a little more on this whole issue. Druid’s Kettle! Wish I’d thought of that one.

Richardson says he thought he was taking a government-approved drug when he took a whiff of homeopathic cold gel. He says he felt a burning sensation and hasn’t smelled much since. A doctor who tested his sense of smell tentatively linked his condition to Zicam, Richardson’s medical records show.

Why wouldn’t he be confused? They sell these things in pharmacies next to the real medicine. The assumption of legitimacy is only natural to make at that point.

Some independent research also has blamed the active ingredient in Zicam, zinc gluconate, for such problems.

Aahhh, cheaters! **Shaking my fist at the screen**It’s not supposed to have an “active ingredient”. Even the homeopaths know that their dilution crap is just that, crap, and that their remedies need real active ingredients to work.

Though many homeopathic remedies consist mostly of sugar or alcohol, thousands of patients swear by their effectiveness anyway.

Thousands of patients are gullible!

Amanda Rafferty of Haverhill took homeopathic sanguinaria canadensis, made from a toxic herb known as bloodroot, for her monthly migraine headaches. She says her next migraine didn’t come back for a full year.

It is this sort of testimonial that the Alt Med crowd relies on as opposed to real scientific evidence. It is this sort of testimonial that makes them succesful and sways peopel their way. Who wouldn’t want a monthly pain to be rescheduled to a yearly one? It’s fantastic!

Her homeopath, Begabati Lennihan of Cambridge, treats headaches, colds, ear infections, digestive complaints, depression and behavioral problems. Like other homeopaths, Lennihan considers not just symptoms but also temperaments, favorite foods, even dreams. However, if the problem shows up in an X-ray, she acknowledges, it “is going to be harder to fix with homeopathy.”

Ha ha ha ha. Priceless. In other words if it’s a real problem we can’t fix it. We only want to deal with subjective issues not objective ones. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about homeopathy?

With only about 2,500 full-time U.S. homeopaths, patients routinely diagnose themselves. Dr. Ahmed Currim, one of 13 state-licensed homeopathic doctors in Connecticut, discourages people from buying homeopathic remedies without professional advice, because they “don’t know what they’re doing.”

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Ahmed. People that intentionally go and buy homeopathic remedies really do not know what the hell they’re doing.

In the booming nonprescription market, many homeopathic remedies are sold for symptoms so vague and broad that it’s virtually impossible to match treatment and ailment.

Of course, otherwise it would quickly fade away. Remember the precious bit about not working on things that show up on an X-ray.

Dr. Iris R. Bell, a psychiatrist and homeopathy researcher at the University of Arizona, Tucson, says the suspended Zicam products deliver the homeopathic ingredient right into the nose — not an accepted homeopathic method. She says the FDA should act against such products.

Right, they were doing it the wrong way. I see, because of course there could be nothing wrong with homeopathy and how their products were prepared. Well Dr. Bell, Zicam was meant to treat congestions so naturally it would be delivered through the nose. You’re not really going to get much help with congestion by taking suppositories!

She also acknowledged that “there are people preparing things homeopathically to try to get around FDA regulations of over-the-counter drugs.” But she says most homeopathic remedies are much safer than conventional pharmaceuticals, so no major regulatory changes are needed.

Talk about blind faith.  How about the fact that homeopathic remedies DO NOT WORK. Does that not require some sort of regulatory change according to the good doctor? How about having regulations that require homeopaths to provide scientific proof that their products work before they sell them to the public?

Conclusion

With the Homeopathy Awareness Week going on, this is exactly the kind of stuff that people need to become aware off.

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  1. […] Following the wake of the Zicam issue, MSNBC published quite a smackdown of homeopathy as a whole, a rarely heard off thing to do in the world of mass media: here. […]


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