Medical curiosity: a man was poisoned by a homeopathic remedy

It is not easy to get poisoned with a homeopathic remedy, since the content of active substances in it is negligible. However, such cases do happen. German doctors described one of them in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

Medical curiosity: a man was poisoned by a homeopathic remedy 39877

A 53-year-old man came to the emergency department of a Munich hospital about confusion, anxiety, and disorders balance and speech. Doctors diagnosed him with anticholinergic syndrome. This condition develops when the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is overly suppressed in the body. It usually appears after taking medications whose effect is similar to that of atropine.

The patient had no chronic diseases and was not taking medications. Doctors found out that before hospitalization, he drank a homeopathic preparation of belladonna (Atropa belladonna) with a dilution of D4 (1:10,000). The extract from this plant does contain atropine and can cause anticholinergic syndrome. However, the situation was truly unusual, because the content of active ingredients in homeopathic preparations is extremely low, they are practically absent. There is no convincing evidence that such remedies help against even one disease. At the same time, as experience shows, sometimes they can be dangerous.

During a blood test, doctors discovered that the patient had a high level of atropine, a natural component of belladonna. When they studied the homeopathic medicine that the patient was taking, it turned out that the content of the active substance in it was 600 times higher than indicated on the label.

“You need to remember the possibility of rare cases of a possible dangerous manufacturing error if you are faced with symptoms that developed after using homeopathic medicines,” the study authors advise doctors.

Previously, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents against using homeopathic remedies containing belladonna, which are offered to ease teething. They were associated with 10 deaths in 2010.