Important Corrections to Medical Ad

In this Wednesday’s Community section (April 29, 2020), you printed a boxed article by one T. Cohen, that made a large number of unsupported recommendations for home treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

T. Cohen claims no credentials, and attributes “much of the … information” to Consumer Lab and Fox News. Consumer Lab is a non-profit that independently tests herbal and vitamin supplements as these are not regulated by the FDA, and often do not contain what is listed on their labels. It does not proffer medical advice. Fox News is, of course, no one’s physician.

While many of the suggestions (tea, soup, sunlight) are harmless and may be helpful, some are dangerous and could be chas v’shalom harmful or even fatal. That is why I am urgently writing you.

Most Dangerous: “Nebulizer with peroxide and colloidal silver recommended for shortness of breath.” The source given is an anonymous phone number that has been disconnected. Nothing should be put into a nebulizer and inhaled except medicine prescribed by your physician!

Here are two reliable sources for the dangers of inhaling hydrogen peroxide:

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care 2015.191:A1537.

This is a peer-reviewed paper about lung damage caused by inhaling peroxide via nebulizer.

See also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enter hydrogen peroxide in the search box, and look for ASTDR (Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry). There is a link called ToxFAQs about hydrogen peroxide.

(While the phone number is anonymous, a quick search revealed the name of the doctor whose recommendation of peroxide nebulizing went viral: Eric Gordon. He is the subject of disciplinary action for malfeasance, gross negligence, and prescribing controlled substances without performing a medical exam.)

You may check the Mayo Clinic website for the dangers of colloidal silver. It is not cleared for inhalation or oral ingestion. It also interferes with the action of certain antibiotics, including quinolone.

Second-Most Dangerous: Doses of zinc up to 50 mg a day. The Mayo Clinic website lists the maximum safe dosage of zinc for a healthy male adult as 40 mg a day. Zinc also interferes with the action of quinolone and other antibiotics. Zinc can also cause loss of smell. As this is also a symptom of COVID-19, it can confuse diagnosis.

Taking vitamin C to the point of diarrhea is not helpful. COVID-19 patients are already at risk for diarrhea and dehydration. Diarrhea also washes out water-soluble vitamins.

The use of boldface for “Lenox Hill Hospital” dishonestly implies the hospital’s approval of measures mentioned in the article as a whole.

Sepsis is incorrectly defined. Sepsis is not the body’s inflammatory response to the disease. Sepsis is a serious condition resulting from microorganisms and/or their toxins circulating in the blood or lymphatic system (Taber’s Medical Dictionary).

Respectfully — and urgently — yours,

Judith Friedman

The “article” in question was in fact a paid advertisement and represents solely the view of the advertiser. We regret that due to a technical error, it was not properly identified as such. — Ed.