FDA Takes on Homeopathic Drugs With Potential Safety Risks

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The US Food and Drug Administration plans to go after homeopathic remedies that are unsafe for consumers and offer unproven benefits in the treatment of serious illnesses, such as cancer and asthma, the agency announced Monday.

The proposal takes a firmer grip on homeopathic drugs, which are sold in the US without proof that they are safe and effective, as with formal FDA drug approval. Currently, no homeopathic drugs are FDA-approved.

“People may be placing their trust and money in therapies that may bring little to no benefit in combating serious ailments, or worse — that may cause significant and even irreparable harm,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

These drugs — which make up a growing, nearly $3 billion market, the agency said — claim to treat illnesses using substances that can cause similar symptoms in a healthy person, the FDA cautioned. These may include plants, minerals and even animal excretions. Many scientific studies have found no evidence that these drugs are effective against cancer, dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and a host of other conditions.

The agency said that most homeopathic remedies will not be affected by the newly proposed policy and will remain on shelves. But if the new guidelines become final, the agency will step up enforcement against certain categories of homeopathic drugs it considers to be more risky. These include drugs whose ingredients are potentially toxic or harmful, drugs that are not taken orally or topically, and those marketed to people with life-threatening conditions and “vulnerable populations” like children and the elderly.

The FDA has taken action against specific homeopathic products in the past, including infant teething gels whose main ingredient, belladonna, was associated with seizures and deaths. An intranasal cold remedy containing zinc was also found to cause a loss of smell in some users. Other remedies have contained a toxic substance called strychnine, which is also used as a rat poison in higher doses.

This is not the first time that homeopathic drugs have come under FDA scrutiny. In 2015, it held meetings at which critics blasted the agency for not taking a strong enough stance on homeopathic treatments. Others defended the products and the current level of FDA oversight.

The Federal Trade Commission also put pressure on over-the-counter homeopathic remedies last year when it announced that it would ramp up scrutiny of their safety and efficacy claims. Under the FTC policy, which targets “deceptive advertising or labeling,” health claims must be based on scientific evidence.

A number of health experts applauded the FDA’s proposed crackdown on treatments they view largely as snake oil. However, homeopathic advocates believe that these products can be beneficial and harmless.

The National Center for Homeopathy, a nonprofit based in New Jersey that works with industry partners, said in a statement from its board of directors that it hopes “this action will not impede access” to homeopathic remedies, though the organization said it supports safety and good manufacturing practices.

The FDA is seeking public comments on its proposal for 90 days before putting final touches on the policy.

“We respect that some individuals want to use alternative treatments,” Gottlieb said, “but the FDA has a responsibility to protect the public from products that may not deliver any benefit and have the potential to cause harm.”

12 comments

  • 🤔

    Sorry one more thing to tell y’all. My friend’s daughter got the guardacil ( not sure how to spell it) she now gets seizures from getting it. Hence, a side effect. She’s 17 yrs old and can’t even get her driver’s license cuz of the seizures. A warning to all do not get that shot for your children. It’s not a necessary shot it was recommended to her by the Dr so she figured she’d get it for her daughter. She now wishes she never did. She has to take 10 pills a day for these seizures and has to carry a pill with her at all times to prevent a seizure . (She gets the jerks before a seizure comes on that’s what the pill is for.) I feel bad for her.

  • 🤔

    They say homeopathic meds are bad? Just listen to some of the commercials for the meds they have out today. Most of those side effects are pretty scary. Prescribed drugs are way worse than homeopathic ones. I have a book for essential oils and they are 100% natural. You can go through and find ailments and it gives you what oils to use. Plus it lists the different oils and tells you what they are used to treat. Hence no chemicals like the meds they prescribe today. Fda just can’t make big money on stuff like that so they push all the meds that are supposed to ” help” people. I just hope people are very careful about the meds they take. In my opinion, they do more damage than good.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Exactly. Anytime you combine any form or government with any form of medicine, the “side effects” are catastrophic.

      And for the record, I am not anti-government. The government just has no business in this, they have no business in healthcare, health insurance, housing, etc. etc. etc. Their job is to provide for the common defense of this country. Get out of this other stuff!

  • Jd

    Warfarin is a rat poison too,but it’s an ingredient in Coumadin and that’s ok? How about Mercury in vaccines? Granted there are some ingredients in holistic meds that are questionable, but there are just as many or more in prescription medicines! Only difference is..the doctors don’t push holistic drugs on people. No money in it.

  • ROSE

    Image result for kevin trudeau natural cureswww.amazon.com
    Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About is a 2005 self-published book by American author Kevin Trudeau, promoting a variety of non-drug and non-surgical purported cures for many diseases,
    Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About – Wikipedia

  • ROSE

    The FDA just wants to keep us doped up on chemicals,they make money that way, they cant make money from natural remedies ,,they dont want people being cured or helped from natural remedies ,thats why they had Kevin Trudeau locked up,,,,Kevins book( Natural cures they dont you to know about),,read it good book

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Homeopathic remedies have been around way longer than the FDA and way longer than the United States of America to begin with.

    Of course the FDA will take on homeopathic’s.

    Label them as dangerous and people will stick with the big pharmaceutical companies.
    Folks, stay as healthy and naturally healthy as you can.

    Homeopathic’s are more than just a essential oil’s.

    • ROSE

      Very good,, keep up the good work,,,The government wants to keep us doped up on drugs/chemicals,,So we are easy to control and they also make big big bucks off us for buying the drugs,,

      • Jd

        Yeah, you go to the doctor for one illness, and they give you a drug that causes several more! So they give you more drugs to treat your new illnesses!

Comments are closed.