bartell drugs sells useless medicine


Sale ends Sunday. Get your Hyland’s Leg Cramps homeopathic remedy now. The alleged active ingredient is quinine. Let’s take a closer look.

Quinine has been used to treat leg cramps, and sometimes is still prescribed for this purpose, despite very poor evidence that it even works. Over-the-counter quinine pills for leg cramps were taken off the market due to nasty side effects as well as the just-mentioned lack of good evidence. The typical prescription pill contains 324 mg of quinine and is primarily used to fight malaria, usually with two or three pills per day. The side effects are a risk you take and have to weigh against the anti-malaria benefit.

Some people still recommend taking quinine for leg cramps by drinking tonic water. Tonic water contains about 80 mg of quinine per liter. The FDA allows this because it’s not enough to have a bad effect, unless you drank several liters of the stuff at once. If you down five liters of Schweppes Tonic Water at one time you might win a contest and then belch for a long time.

The Hyland’s Leg Cramps remedy contains .0078 mg per tablet. Even if quinine actually helped with leg cramps, this amount would have no effect whatsoever. This is what’s called a “trace amount.” You could eat hundreds of these pills and not worry about quinine side effects. Or any other effects.

The weird thing is that this remedy doesn’t even follow the bizarre theory behind homeopathy as I understand it. In homeopathy, I thought the idea was to ingest tiny amounts of something that actually would cause your symptoms if taken in a large dose. For example, homeopaths use a form of arsenic, which is literally diluted out of existence, to treat digestive disorders. My friend Mr. Bastian, who called my attention to this ad in the first place, says that some homeopathy uses tiny, tiny amounts of actual medicine instead of symptom-causing stuff. I didn’t know about that.

Either way however, I’m certain that homeopathic “medicine” is supposed to be more powerful the more you dilute it. So if you took Hyland’s Leg Cramps, which contains 1/1,000th of the amount of quinine you’d receive by drinking eight ounces of tonic water, and then diluted it even more, and then banged the container against an elastic surface ten times, watch out! If you took the super-diluted version, you’d probably be stumbling around with rubbery legs for a week. Right?

It’s safe. It’s natural. It’s on sale. It works as well as a placebo. It magically transfers money from your wallet into a black hole. Thanks Bartell Drugs. It’s not enough to earn a profit selling real medicine. If customers want it, you’ll gladly sell them something useless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s