Children 6-12 Years

Another way this Safecare Asthmacare product is likely to fool people who don’t realize it’s “homeopathic” or what “homeopathic” means. It’s the Details, which are helpfully provided on the Google page that appears if you Google the two words. (It’s sponsored. I’m helping Safecare market its “Asthmacare”…)

asthmaYou’d never know it was just a little bottle of water, would you.

But this is the really sneaky part.


Directions: Initially, depress pump until primed. Hold close to mouth and spray one dose directly into mouth. Adult Dose: 3 pump sprays 3 times per day (use additionally as needed, up to 6 times per day); Children 6-12 Years: 2 pump sprays 3 times per day (use additionally as needed, up to 6 times per day).

That. That ridiculous “up to 6 times per day,” as if there were such a thing as an overdose. That doctory-sounding bullshit about dose and times per day and as needed and up to, as if there were anything in it BESIDES WATER.

It’s sheer cargo cult. Wear the white coat, make passes in the air, push your spectacles up your nose with a medical forefinger, look solemn, list all the Lobelia and Quebracho, and pocket your $23 for a bottle of nothing.

A bottle of nothing for a respiratory condition that can kill.


  1. angharad says

    I certainly wouldn’t consume that stuff if it wasn’t diluted to the nth degree. Elemental bromine (which is what I assume they mean by bromium) is unpleasantly toxic. Natrum sulphuricum is an old fashioned name for sodium sulphate, which is a laxative.

  2. says

    I expect it’s been noted somewhere elsewhere in all of this, but one of the (many) things I find galling about this is: it’s very likely at least some of those who buy this stuff do so in part because actual medicine is out of their economic reach. Or at least far more an economic strain.

    Part of a larger problem, of course. But it just seems to me to make this that much more cynical and predatory in nature. Oh look, desperate people, who might very much benefit from a drug that actually, y’know, does something, but really can’t afford it. Sweet. I smell opportunity. Let’s charge them $30 for a vial of water. They need to badly enough, they’ve got every reason to swallow the bait, to try to believe in the false hope this holds out to them… And if they’re unwise enough actually to pay, hey, it just serves ’em right for being poor, ill, and desperate.

    So, y’know, if there’s a revolution, I’d respectfully like to nominate the charmers that make and sell this stuff for first up against the wall.. I know, I know… Competition’s stiff for this honour. Still. I do so vote.

    (/… and maybe after them, the regulatory bodies that let them get away with it. Because it really does seem to me they’re culpable, too. And it really doesn’t seem they care. Attitude isn’t just ‘let the buyer beware’ so much as ‘let the uneducated and desperate be gouged, poorly served by the system, and flat out endangered. Again, serves ’em right for being poor and desperate.’)

  3. quixote says

    There is something in it besides water. It’s right there under Ingredients, at the very bottom: Potassium Sorbate, citric acid.

    Which is hilarious if it really is purified water because potassium sorbate is a preservative and citric acid is mainly used to change pH.

    On a more serious level, is it even legal to put “Ingredients” in bold type, list the things present in trace molecular amounts first, and then have the actual ingredients after that? I had understood that ingredients had to be listed in the order of their amount in the product.

  4. Blanche says

    I remember one of these homeopathy nutjobs – it was at a “park day”, and her toddler had been stung by a bee. So she was giving her these little pills. I expressed some reservations about the content, and the dodobird mother assured me that the child could eat the entire bottle without any risk of harm. Which made me think the contents were entirely inert. And the mom then popped a few of the pills as if to show me just how harmless (read: ineffective) they were. Why are people so stoopid??

  5. Andrew G. says

    Be a bit careful here about the overdose thing.

    A 10X dilution (5C) is 1 in 10 billion, which is enough for barely detectable amounts of material to remain, though few things are dangerous at this level. (For comparison, US drinking water might contain the equivalent of 8X of arsenic.) So anything described as 8X or more (4C or more) is, assuming the labelling and preparation is accurate, pretty much going to be safe at any dosage (the water will kill you first – but see below re. “inactive” ingredients). The threshold for “literally none of the original substance remains” would be about 26X or 13C – at that concentration the odds are heavily against there being so much as a single molecule from the original ingredient regardless of the original concentration.

    But LM1 is 1 in 50,000, equivalent to 4.7X, which is enough for (just barely) biologically significant amounts of some substances to be present – and when the ingredients list includes things like like monkshood, with no way to know how it has been prepared, you can bet I wouldn’t risk doing any of those massive-overdose stunts with this, or encouraging anyone else to.

    (You may recall those “homeopathic” nasal sprays that caused people to permanently lose their sense of smell – those had only a 1X dilution (1 in 10) of zinc gluconate – at some unknown initial concentration.)

    Then there’s the “inactive” ingredients – potassium sorbate is a widely used preservative, but not something you want to consume in unlimited amounts.

    Bottom line – “homeopathic” products described as 1X to 3X (or 1C) might be dangerous even at the recommended dose (since there’s no requirement for the manufacturer to prove safety in advance); at 4X to 7X (2C or 3C or LM1) it’s vanishingly unlikely that the recommended dose will have any useful effect (since the ingredients aren’t chosen for effectiveness), but massive overdoses might not be entirely wise; above that you might as well substitute tap water.

  6. stripeycat says

    I seem to recall research that said asthma sufferers give placebo felt better, but didn’t show any lung-function improvement. So if you give your kid this, a) they’ll be going around suffering low-level lung damage without noticing it, and b) they’ll be less likely to seek emergency medical care as their symptoms worsen. So this is worse than no treatment at all, actively harmful to the patient. I truly hate the US laws that permits this, the corrupt politicians that are responsible for them, and the murderous crooks who profit. I really, really wish you could ever hope to put them up on trial.

  7. Andrew G. says

    angharad @ 3: also, “Aconitum Napellus” is monkshood (wolfsbane); I presume “Antimonium Tartaricum” means antimony potassium tartrate, which has a history of use as an emetic and as an anti-parasitic / anti-protozoan drug but which is also unpleasantly toxic.

    (Apparently there are “homeopathic” preparations of monkshood sold at only 3X (1 in 1000) dilution. WTF are these people thinking?)

  8. LeftSidePositive says

    But if it’s homeopathic and the less of it you get the more powerful it is, shouldn’t the kids get 3 sprays and the adults get 2?

  9. AnotherAnonymouse says

    @4: “it’s very likely at least some of those who buy this stuff do so in part because actual medicine is out of their economic reach. Or at least far more an economic strain.”

    That was me in the last post. I just paid $400 for a prescription that cost me $50 to fill in December because we have a stupid and greedy HR idiot–she dropped our reasonable coverage in favor of the plan brokered by her BFF, (and likely got a kickback from the BFF). In my case, I can barely manage the increase if I cut way back on other things, but it’s going to hurt. For some people, the cost of real medicine might be entirely out of reach, but hey, look! There’s this home-eeee-path stuff that’s so much cheaper! With no side effects! It’s just like buying the store brand of bread instead of the national brand, right?

  10. says

    Andrew M & Another – oh absolutely – the price is a huge part of my rage about this. What you have on the shelf is two expensive items and the cheaper inert item. AND THE UNWARY HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING the third item is bogus.

    There are actually regulatory thingies that mandate a certain amount of truth in labeling. I’m now wondering what the loopholes are that make this shit legal.

    We need a class action suit here. Who would be the right people to organize that? A consumer org?

  11. says

    Blanche – I suppose in that case it would depend on what the mother thought the pills were supposed to do. The idea could be just to make the toddler think they were to make the booboo all better, which would probably work.

    Or it could be that the toddler was allergic to bee stings…in which case one turns pale with horror.

  12. rnilsson says

    And this is yet another reason the bailout of the fokken blinkenbox was so trebly treacherous. Teh BoraX could have handled this pretty well – if he still had had any cred left whatsoever.

    Whaah! It smell like fly butter flutter but stink like a BZ!


  1. […] that time I read something about homeopathic asthma “medication” and went ballistic? Remember I went to the local chain drugstore to see if they carried it and sure enough they did, […]

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