Whilst out in Loughborough today I took a short cut through Boots Pharmacy. On the way I couldn’t resist having a look at the range of Homeopathic remedies on sale.
I picked up a small box of Nelson’s 30C Arnica homeopathic remedy. I began reading the wording on the box and became curious at the instructions explaining what to do if you take an overdose! The advice given was to seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist, taking the label with you.
I wondered what advice I would be given if I had accidentally (or deliberately) taken too many of these innocent looking sugar pills. At a 30C dilution there is no active ingredient in the pill. Homeopathic remedies are often sold as ‘safe’ and yet here were clear instructions telling me an overdose was possible and to seek professional advice.
Well just next to me was a counter, behind which were two members of staff, both wearing a badge saying ‘Pharmacist’ …. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to seek some professional advice on the products they were selling.
I asked one of the pharmacists how much of this particular product I would need to take in order for it to be classed as an overdose and what action should I take if I had accidentally taken that much Arnica 30C.
At this point the pharmacist started to read me the instructions on the box and starts looking very lost “Erm ….. It says take 2 every 2 hours … Erm… anything more than that…. Erm”
The instructions on the box say: Take 2 pills every 2 hours for the first 6 doses and then 4 times daily until symptoms improve for a maximum of 7 days.
I told him that I’d heard the recent reports in the media that there are no active ingredients in a 30C homeopathic remedy and if that were so why would there be overdose instructions. I asked him how many sugar pills is too many and what course of action should be taken if it happened.
The second pharmacist had been listening to this and trying to hide her obvious amusement, however the suggestion of overdosing on sugar pills is too much and she walks away covering her face, leaving the remaining pharmacist struggling with how to reply ( Not very helpful! )
The response was ” You erm ……. use these following instructions of a homeopathic prescriber”
So I pointed out that it says seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist, he is a pharmacist and he’s the one selling the product and I’m seeking his advice, what would he suggest.
At this point he gives in and simply says that he’ll have to look further into it and probably give the company (Nelson’s) a call and see what they suggest. He then states that although they sell the products they only have ‘fingertip’ knowledge of them. I take that to mean they simply take the cash and hand you the box!
Once home I decided to check the Nelson’s website and see what advice is on offer for their Arnica 30C:
http://www.nelsonshomeopathy.com/shop-online/Arnica-30c_prod1736.aspx (WordPress is playing up at the moment – will correct this link later)
It mentions nothing about overdosing, what it does say is:
Instructions: Always read the label. Keep all medicines out of reach of children.
I did, and sought advise as detailed on the label!
Now why am I not shocked … however it doesn’t even mention lactose!
Dosage: Always read the label.
I did and just for good measure the pharmacist also read it out to me!
Are they admitting that a 30C dilution has no potency at all. I thought they claimed all that dilution made it more potent!
So having found a product in Boots sought the advice of a pharmacist, I still have no idea how much is too much, however I’m not too worried as neither does the pharmacist. I think the only thing I can do now is drop a quick line to both Boots and Nelson’s seeking their advice.