Flucloxacillin capsules contain iron oxide which may make them magnetic

7 December 2021
What was claimed

Videos show flucloxacillin medication contains something that makes it magnetic.

Our verdict

We cannot verify the provenance of the videos, but the MHRA told Full Fact that the magnet is most likely attracting the iron oxide food colouring used in the capsule shell.

Videos on Facebook and Bitchute claim to show flucloxacillin capsules being dissolved in water and leaving a residue of particles which can be moved with magnets. The Bitchute video demonstrates this after the person in the video first removes the medication from inside the capsule.

Flucloxacillin is a commonly used antibiotic medication. It can be prescribed in a number of formulations, but often a capsule form is used. 

Full Fact cannot verify that the Facebook videos have used genuine, or untampered with, flucloxacillin capsules in the videos. However, we asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), if it could explain the process demonstrated.

The MHRA told Full Fact that the food colouring agent iron oxide is frequently used in the shells of capsule medication. It suggested therefore that the magnet is most likely attracting the iron oxide colouring used in the capsule shell.

Iron oxides (E172) are food colouring agents which are legally permitted in foods

The MHRA said that the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives, has set an acceptable daily intake of 0-0.5 mg iron oxide per kg body weight per day. This would mean that for a 50 kg adult, 25 mg of iron oxide could be ingested every day over an entire lifetime without any appreciable health risk. 

The MHRA also said that the amounts of colour present in a capsule shell are quite limited and exposure would not be expected to exceed the recommended level in most cases. 

The hashtags under one of the videos say #graphene, #5G. Graphene isn’t listed anywhere on the ingredient list of flucloxacillin capsules. It is unclear what the reference to 5G is suggesting.

We’ve previously written about other videos online which have falsely claimed that the Covid-19 vaccines can make you magnetic, or that the Covid-19 vaccine vials contain magnetic particles. We have also written about posts which incorrectly claim that the vaccines contain graphene oxide, and false claims about 5G and the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because the capsules of flucloxacillin contain iron oxide which may give them some magnetic properties.

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