Dangerous Placebo During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Series of Homoeopathic Arsenicum Album-Induced Liver Injury

Complementary and alternative medicines were promoted as health supplements, “immune-boosters” and COVID-19 preventive drugs through visual, print, and social media, during the pandemic. In this context, specifically in India, the homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum Album 30C prepared from arsenic trioxide was widely prescribed and publicly supplied through government agencies among adults and school-going children. Inorganic arsenic, known as the “king of poisons” is a highly toxic substance with the potential to cause acute as well as chronic injury to multiple organ systems, mainly skin, lung, liver, and kidneys. Acute liver injury due to arsenic-containing formulations is seldom reported. We present three cases of acute liver injury, leading to death in one patient with underlying non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cirrhosis, after consumption of the homeopathic remedy AA30 for COVID-19 prevention.

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