In 1999, a BBC investigation involving interviews with scientists involved in administering the drug, patients and creator Alexander Ilyen raised serious doubts about the drug's efficacy, concluding that Armenicum might do more harm than good. Dr. Manfred Dietrich of the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told the BBC "I would not recommend at all to take such a drug." while an American patient said "we’re in a worse state than we were before we went."
The main ingredient of Armenicum is iodine, a general antiseptic. According to the manufacturers it also contains dextrin, polyvinyl alcohol, sodium, potassium and lithium cations and chloride anions. It is described as a "blue-violet liquid with specific odor, packed in orange glass bottles per 20ml and corked tightly by a rubber plug clutched by aluminum caps.