Avoid these pharmaceutical “medications” at all costs…
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
The United States is notorious for its use of bromine in farming, though the US (and other countries around the world, too, in this case) also uses bromine as a flame retardant in children’s pajamas and in furniture, plastics, and more. Bromine competes with iodine in the body to fill iodine receptors in the thyroid, reproductive organs, and gallbladders (yes, there are iodine receptors in the gallbladder!), which ultimately can lead to severe dysfunction in these organs. When bromine takes the place of iodine in the body, and in addition, when a person doesn’t get enough iodine in the first place, this can lead to the symptoms of both bromine toxicity as well as iodine deficiency. These symptoms mimic a wide range of health problems, including everything from common, “normal” issues such as menstrual pain or irregularity, chronic headaches, or infertility, to serious diseases such as myasthenia gravis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, autism, and much, much more.
Below is a list of some of the pharmaceutical drugs that contain bromine. This is by no means a complete list, I’m sure, but it’s intended to illustrate the prevalence of bromine in the conventional medical system. Whenever (if ever) you start using a pharmaceutical, it’s smart to do a quick online search to learn more about it. Look at the chemical formula, and if you see “Br” (bromine) anywhere, steer clear.
Besides quitting the bromine-containing medication, bromine exposure can be treated through the use of Lugol’s iodine solution (or other formulas containing both potassium iodide and molecular iodine, such as Iodoral). In countries like the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe, regular use of iodine supplements is essential for health since bromine is often found as residue on foods or, in some cases, in bathing and drinking water, on clothing, or on furniture. Read more about how to supplement with iodine here. Also, at the end of this article is a list of other articles we’ve written about the connection between iodine deficiency, bromine toxicity, and different health problems.
Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide – Present in Nearly ALL Cough Medicines (including popular brands like Mucinex and Robitussin)
Dextromethorphan hydrobromide is one extremely common preparation of dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough medication taken for coughs caused by respiratory infection or transient coughing (such as that caused by allergies, for example). Extremely popular cough syrups or pills for both adults and children, such as those produced by Robitussin, contain dextromethorphan hydrobromide (Dextromethorphan Hbr) as one of their active ingredients. Other brands that contain this drug include Tussal, PediaCare Children’s, Creomulsion, Delsym, Father John’s Cough Medicine, Mucinex DM, and many, many more (I stopped looking up cough medicines because all of them containing dextromethorphan contained this particular form of it).
The side effects of dextromethorphan hydrobromide include:
- Respiratory depression
Depending on where you live, nicergoline may be sold under the brand names Sermion, Cholergol, Ergobel, Nicerium, Adavin, Qualigoline, or others. The chemical formula is C24H26BrN3O3, and the drug is classified as a vasodilator. Nicergoline is also sometimes classified as a nootropic, suggesting that it may be given to “improve” brain function, or it can be given as a prescription drug. When prescribed, this drug is generally given for migraines, Raynaud’s syndrome, dementia and other forms of memory loss (which bromine ultimately makes worse), macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, diabetic retinopathy, cerebral thrombosis, and other nervous system or vascular conditions.
The side effects of nicergoline include:
- Hypotension / low blood pressure
- Bradycardia / slow heart rate
- Sleep disorders
- Excessive sweating
- Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood
- Muscle pain
- Changes in experience of taste
- Ergotism / ergot alkaloid poisoning (with long-term use)
Pipobroman is sold under the brand names Vericite or Vercyte; the chemical formula for pipobroman is C10H16Br2N2O2. It is an alkylating agent (meaning that it is intended to increase the number of alkyl groups in the body) and chemotherapeutic drug that is marketed primarily for the treatment of leukemia, though it may also be used in the treatment of polycythemia vera, essential thrombocytopenia, primary myelofibrosis, globulinuria, and splenomegaly. Pipobroman is most popular in France and Italy (it is not available in the United States) and is generally prescribed to older individuals over age 70.
Side effects of pipobroman include:
- Gastrointestinal toxicity
- Increased leukemia risk (note that pipobroman is supposed to treat leukemia, yet it also causes leukemia)
Brotizolam (C15H10BrClN4S) is marketed under the brand names Lendormin, Bondormin, Dormex, Lindormin, Noctilan, or Sintonal. It is sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Chile, Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Mexico, Israel, Portugal, Luxembourg, and Italy (it is not available in the US, Canada, or the UK). The drug is most often prescribed to be taken over the course of 2-4 weeks for the treatment of severe insomnia; some hospitals also give brotizolam pre-surgery for anxiety. It’s a hypnotic and a benzodiazepine analog, meaning that although it’s not actually in the benzodiazepine family of drugs, it functions similarly to benzodiazepines in regard to its mechanism of action.
Brotizolam side effects include:
- Ataxia (trouble controlling voluntary muscle movements)
- Anterograde amnesia (a form of memory loss)
- Slurred speech
- Imparied motor functions
- Low blood pressure / Hypotension
- Respiratory depression
- Heart palpitations
- Disrupted sleep patterns (for example, not getting any REM sleep)
Merbromin (C20H8Br2HgNa2O6) is an organomercury; it contains both mercury as well as bromine. It may be sold under the brand names Mercurochrome, Mercurocol, Superchrome, Brocasept, Cinfacromin, or Sodium mercurescein (among others). Though not available in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, France, Iran, or Brazil, it is readily available in most other countries as a topical antiseptic (the drug was classified as “generally recognized as safe” by the United States FDA until only recently in 1998). As an antiseptic, merbromin is often applied to umbilical cord wounds, neuropathic ulcers, and diabetic foot sores, though it is also frequently used as a general use antiseptic for minor cuts, burns, and scrapes.
Side effects of merbromin include:
- Kidney damage
- Aplastic anemia
- Vesicular eruption
4-Bromomethcathinone / 4-BMC
4-bromomethcathinone (C10H12BrNO) is a psychoactive serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor in the amphetamine, phenethylamine, and cathinone drug classes. It is considered to have antidepressant effects; note that 4-BMC is considered a Schedule 1 substance in the state of Virginia, and has also been a controlled substance in China since 2015. It is not prescribed for any health problem at this time.
Brompheniramine is an antihistamine drug primarily prescribed for allergic rhinitis, common cold symptoms, hay fever, and other related problems. Its chemical formula is C16H19BrN2, and it is often sold under the brand names Bromfed, Bromfenex, Dimetapp, Ala-Hist IR, Veltane, Lodrane, and J-Tan (note that some drugs that combine brompheniramine with another pharmaceutical are likely to have a different brand name). Brompheniramine is currently listed as one of the most powerful anticholinergic pharmaceuticals available.
Side effects of brompheniramine include:
- Dry mouth, nose, and throat
- Chest congestion
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Blurred vision
- Tachycardia / increased heart rate
- Trouble urinating
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- And more…
Bromfenac (C15H12BrNO3) is an NSAID marketed in the form of eye drops under the brand names Prolensa, Bromday, Xibrom, Yellox, and Bromsite. It is available by prescription for macular edema and postoperative ocular inflammation and pain following cataract surgery. One of the original iterations of bromfenac, Duract, to go to market in July 1997 was recalled less than one year later in June 1998 after multiple patients reported hepatotoxicity following usage of the oral bromfenac drug for more than the indicated 10-day usage limit.
Side effects of current bromfenac eye drop preparations include:
- Corneal erosion
- Itching eyes / pruritus of the eyes
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Corneal perforation
- Blurred vision
- Decreased night vision
- Diminished vision / vision changes
- Changes to ability to see color
- Abnormal eye sensations
Bromocriptine (C32H40BrN5O5) is a prescription drug given for Parkinson’s disease, pituitary gland tumors, type 2 diabetes (as an adjunct medication), hyperprolactinemia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, acromegaly, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (as a preventative), and many other conditions. It is a dopamine agonist. Bromocriptine has been known by many brand names, including (but not limited to) Abergin, Lactodel, Medocriptine, Ronalin, Barlolin, Brameston, Cripsa, Deparo, Erenant, Gynodel, Parlodel, and many others.
Side effects of bromocriptine use include:
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Psychotic symptoms
- Pulmonary fibrosis (when given in high doses for Parkinson’s disease)
- Withdrawal symptoms upon quitting (such as anxiety, dysphoria, irritability, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, pain, cravings, etc.)
- Blurred vision, double vision, etc.
- Chest pain/discomfort
- Visual, auditory, or sensory hallucinations
- Problems with coordination and muscle control
- Inability to speak
- Severe mood swings
- Unusual behavior
- And more…
Bromazepam (C14H10BrN3O) is a benzodiazepine drug prescribed for anxiety, panic states, tension, and nervousness; is closely related to other common benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and clonazepam (Klonopin). Bromazepam may be sold under a wide range of brand names, including Lexotan, Lexotanil, Zepam, Calmepam, Rekotnil, Bromaze, Lectopam, and others. It is a hypnotic drug and has also sometimes been used to treat the effects of alcohol withdrawal. Note that bromazepam isn’t available in the United States anymore, though it is still prescribed in other countries.
Bromazepam’s side effects include the following:
- Loss of coordination
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Behavioral changes
Flubromazolam (C17H12BrFN4) contains both bromine and fluorine, and is considered to be a benzodiazepine derivative drug. It is highly potent and can produce powerful sedative and amnesia-inducing effects at a dose of only 0.5 milligrams. It has been shown to potentially be deadly at a dose of only 3mg. Because of these powerful effects, flubromazolam has been deemed illegal in Sweden and Switzerland, and is a Schedule 9 substance in Australia (meaning it can only be used for research purposes with a permit) and a Class C drug in the UK, along with some other benzodiazepines. In the United States, it is a Schedule 1 drug.
Acecarbromal (C9H15BrN2O3) is sold under the brand names Sedamyl, Sedacetyl, Paxarel, Afrodor Carbased, and Abasin, and may also be referred to as acetyl carbromal or acetyl adalin. In Europe, it is sometimes prescribed in combination with vitamin E supplements and quebracho bark for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It is a hypnotic, sedative, and anxiolytic drug. I was unable to find information the side effects of this medication.
Bromisoval (C6H11BrN2O2), which is also known as bromovaleryurea, is a hypnotic and sedative pharmaceutical given by prescription in European countries and available over-the-counter in some Asian countries under the name Brovarin (in Asia, bromisoval is often combined with NSAID drugs).
Chronic use of bromisoval has been closely associated with bromine poisoning. Side effects may include:
- Drug dependence
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Rash and other cutaneous (skin) reactions
- Problems with memory
- Nystagmus miosis
- Respiratory depression
Carbromal (C7H14BrN2O2) was originally developed in the early 1900s and first went by the brand name Adalin. Like many other drugs containg bromine, carbromal is also classed as a sedative and hypnotic. It is sometimes prescribed for the treatmen of mild insomnia, though most sources acknowledge that this particular drug carries the additional risk of potential bromine toxicity development. Bromine toxicity can cause symptoms like acne, gastrointestinal discomfort, hyperreflexia (twitching, tremors, spasms, etc.), and more.
Pamabrom (C7H7BrN4O2 + C4H11NO) is an over-the-counter diuretic marketed for the treatment of bloating, swelling, water weight gain, menstrual symptoms, and feelings of fullness. In some places, it is also combined with acetaminophen and indicated for back pain and menstrual pain.
Side effects of pamabrom+acetaminophen include:
- Angioedema (fluid build-up around the heart)
- Itchy rash
- Swelling of the throat
- Increased uric acid, glucose, and/or chloride levels
- Hepatotoxicity / liver toxicity
- Decreased sodium, calcium, or bicarbonate levels
- Decreased white blood cell count
- Anaphylactic reaction
- And more…
Dexbrompheniramine (C16H19BrN2) is an antihistamine and anticholinergic drug. It used to be marketed as Drixoral, a drug combining dexbrompheniramine with pseudoephedrine. Today, the drug is sold under the brand names Ala-Hist IR and Pediavent, among others, and continues to be combined with pseudoephedrine as well as with acetaminophen. As an antihistamine, it is prescribed to treat symptoms of hay fever, the common cold, upper respiratory tract infection, and allergies.
Side effects of dexbrompheniramine may include:
- Tachycardia / fast heart rate
- Arrhythmia / irregular heartbeat
- Mood swings
- Decreased urination
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and/or convulsions
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth, nose, and/or throat
Tiotropium bromide (C19H22BrNO4S2) is a prescription drug sold under the brand names Spiriva, Spiriva Handihaler, Stiolto, Spiolto, Respimat, and Tiova. It is a bronchodilator and an anticholinergic agent prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and emphysema, and may be given either as an oral medication or via inhalation in an inhaler. It is the 110th most-prescribed medication and on the WHO’s list of “Essential Medicines” (which suggests even more strongly just how common this bromine-containing drug actually is in the entire world).
Side effects of tiotropium bromide include:
- Dry mouth
- Throat irritation
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Upset stomach
- Tachycardia / fast heartbeat
- Painful or difficult urination
- Swollen joints
- And more…
Hexafluronium bromide (C36H42Br2N2), which is sometimes called only “hexafluronium”, is a muscle relaxant and cholinesterase inhibitor. It specifically blocks cholinesterases in the plasma, though not in the muscular junctions. Hexafluronium bromide is primarily used in combination with suxamethonium, an anesthetic, to potentiate this drug’s anesthetic effects.
Sold under the brand names Pamine, AlleRx, Rescon, and Extendryl, methscopolamine bromide is used predominantly for the treatment of motion sickness, though it can also be prescribed for peptic ulcers and stomach pain (though research indicates that the drug isn’t actually effective for peptic ulcers, and may in fact make them worse). It may also be present in some cold or allergy medications. Methscopolamine bromide’s chemical formula is C18H24BrNO4.
Side effects of methscopolamine bromide include:
- Blurred vision
- Abdominal bloating
- Dry mouth
- Decreased sexual performance
- Mood swings
- Difficulty urinating
- And more…
A List of Other Approved Drugs Containing Bromine
This list of bromine-containing drugs is intended to help people identify whether they’re currently taking or have previously taken a drug containing bromine. I’ve included the chemical name, formula, brand names (including some that are combination drugs with other pharmaceuticals), and basic uses of each of these wherever possible to make it possible for people to do their own research if necessary.
- Pyridostigmine Bromide (C9H13N2O2); Mestinon, Regonol, Gravitor – Gulf War Syndrome prevention, myasthenia gravis, underactive bladder, organophosphate poisoning, orthostatic hypertension, chronic axonal polyneuropathy, postural tachycardia syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- NOTE: We wrote in more detail about this particular drug in our article on Gulf War syndrome.
- Bromhexine (C14H20Br2N2); Axine Syrup, Bislan, Paxirisol, Benadryl Chesty/Forte, Beacolytic, Axcel, Dysolvon, Disol, Hosolvon, Duro-Tuss, Prihexine, Mucolix, Vasican, Bromyl, Broncodex, Bremiel, Dosflem, Robitussin ME and Chesty/Forte, Singripax, Glicertox, Efrimel – Mucolytic/mucus-thinning, cough due to cold or allergies,
- Propantheline Bromide (C23H30BrNO3); Pro-Banthine, Propanthel – Urinary incontinence, hyperhidrosis, stomach, intestinal, and bladder cramps/spasms, rhinitis, ulcers.
- Anisotropine Methylbromide / Octatropine Methylbromide (C17H32BrNO2); Valpin, Endovalpin, Lytispasm; in some countries, it may be sold in combination with phenobarbital and metamizole – Gastric ulcers
- Pancuronium Bromide (C35H60Br2N2O4); Pavulon – General anesthesia, euthanasia, to aid tracheal intubation
- Vecuronium Bromide (C34H57BrN2O4); Norcuron – General anesthesia, to relax skeletal muscles during surgery or intubation, euthanasia
- Rocuronium Bromide (C32H53BrN2O4); Zemuron, Esmeron – General anesthesia, to relax skeletal muscles during surgery or intubation, euthanasia
- Homatropine Methylbromide (C17H24BrNO3); Hydocan, Hydromet – Peptic ulcers, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, motion sickness, vomiting/nausea
- Ipratropium Bromide (C20H30BrNO3); Atrovent, Combivent, Ipravent – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, rhinorrhea
- Clidinium Bromide (C22H26BrNO3+); Normaxin, Librax, Chlorax, Chlobax, Klipaks, Corium – Peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colic/abdominal pain, diverticulitis, acute enterocolitis
- Scopolamine Hydrobromide / Hyoscine Hydrobromide (C17H21BrNO3); Kwells, Isopto Hyoscine, Belloid, Buscopan, Hyoswift, Hyocimax, Buscomol – Motion sickness, nausea/vomiting (both from motion sickness and postoperative states), gastrointestinal, renal, or biliary spasms and cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, eye inflammation
- Bromazine / Bromodiphenhydramine (C17H20BrNO); Ambodryl, Ambrodil, Deserol, Neo-Benadryl, Ambenyl Cough Syrup, Bromo-Benadryl, Bromanautine – Diphenhydramine analog, skin allergies, mild Parkinson’s disease, irritant cough, nausea/vomiting, vertigo, motion sickness
- Bretylium Tosylate (C11H17BrN+); Bretylate – Ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, arrhythmias, norepinephrine/noradrenaline release inhibitor
Apollo Pharmacy (n.d). Nicergoline. Retrieved November 3, 2022 from: https://www.apollopharmacy.in/salt/NICERGOLINE
Drugs.com (n.d). Nicergoline. Retrieved November 3, 2022 from: https://www.drugs.com/international/nicergoline.html
Wikipedia (2022). Nicergoline. Retrieved November 3, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicergoline#:~:text=Nicergoline%2C%20sold%20under%20the%20brand,other%20disorders%20with%20vascular%20origins
Wikipedia (2020). Pipobroman. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipobroman
N.A. (n.d). Pipobroman. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/pipobroman
Wikipedia (2022). Brotizolam. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brotizolam
Wikipedia (2022). Merbromin. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merbromin
Wikipedia (2022). 4-Bromomethcathinone. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-Bromomethcathinone
MedlinePlus (2018). Brompheniramine. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682545.html
Wikipedia (2022). Brompheniramine. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brompheniramine
Mayo Clinic (2022). Bromfenac (Ophthalmic Route). Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/bromfenac-ophthalmic-route/side-effects/drg-20062377?p=1
Wikipedia (2022). Bromfenac. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromfenac
Mayo Clinic (2022). Bromocriptine (Oral Route). Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/bromocriptine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20062385
Wikipedia (2022). Bromocriptine. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromocriptine
myVMC (2018). Lexotan. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.myvmc.com/drugs/lexotan/
MedicineNet (n.d). Bromazepam-Oral Tablet. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.medicinenet.com/bromazepam-oral_tablet/article.htm#SideEffects
Wikipedia (2022). Bromazepam. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromazepam
Wikipedia (2022). Flubromazolam. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flubromazolam
Wikipedia (2020). Acecarbromal. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acecarbromal
Wikipedia (2021). Bromisoval. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromisoval
MIMS (n.d). Bromisoval. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from; https://www.mims.com/malaysia/drug/info/bromisoval?mtype=generic
Inxight Drugs (n.d). Carbromal. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://drugs.ncats.io/drug/0Y299JY9V3
Wikipedia (2022). Carbromal. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbromal
RxList (n.d). Acetaminophen/Pamabrom. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_acetaminophenpamabrom/drugs-condition.htm
Wikipedia (2022). Pamabrom. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamabrom
Wikipedia (2022). Dexbrompheniramine. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexbrompheniramine
Drugs.com (2022). Dexbrompheniramine. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.drugs.com/mtm/dexbrompheniramine.html#:~:text=Histamine%20can%20produce%20symptoms%20of,listed%20in%20this%20medication%20guide.
RxList (n.d). Spiriva (Tiotropium Bromide). Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://www.rxlist.com/spiriva-drug.htm#warnings
Wikipedia (2022). Tiotropium bromide. Retrieved November 4, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiotropium_bromide
Apollo Pharmacy (n.d). Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide. Retrieved November 5, 2022 from: https://www.apollopharmacy.in/salt/DEXTROMETHORPHAN%20HYDROBROMIDE
N.A. (2022). Hexafluronium Bromide. Retrieved November 7, 2022 from: https://www.ndrugs.com/?s=hexafluronium%20bromide
Wikipedia (2021). Hexafluronium Bromide. Retrieved November 7, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexafluronium_bromide
DrugBank (2022). Methscopolamine Bromide. Retrieved November 7, 2022 from: https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB00462
Wikipedia (2020). Methscopolamine Bromide. Retrieved November 7, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylscopolamine_bromide
WebMD (n.d). Methscopolamine Bromide. Retrieved November 7, 2022 from: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6963/methscopolamine-oral/details