6-May-15 3:15 PM  CST

FDA Takes a Closer Look at Homeopathic Drugs

In our search to find more natural and less chemical based treatments for disease such as depression, pain relief and even the common cold, many Americans have turned to homeopathic drugs. Homeopathic drugs, which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way as prescription and over the counter drugs, are a $2.9 billion dollar business in the United States. As Americans continue to seek out more organic methods for curing ailments these numbers are only expected to grow larger.

Easily obtained on just about any drug store shelf, cold remedies like Zicam and Cold Eeze came under attack last week at a hearing conducted by the FDA on homeopathic drug products. The two-day session, which the FDA considered a “listening session” was used to determine if the FDA should be more involved in placing tighter restrictions on drugs considered to be homeopathic. The “listening session” came about in part due to a recent study conducted at Australia’s National Health and Research Council. Analysis of the study showed that most homeopathic drugs are not any more effective than taking a placebo. However, homeopathic drugs are a multibillion-dollar business, and this is reason enough for many to believe they should fall under much tighter restriction and scrutiny.

Homeopathic medicine, which believes the body should be used as its own weapon, has been used for centuries. However, the latest research may have the FDA rethinking its stance on the effectiveness of homeopathic drugs. While one representative from the American Association for Homeopathic Pharmacists, Mark Land, argues that the current system used by the FDA is credible other critics of homeopathic drugs believe otherwise. Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman believes that the public, in general, is misinformed about homeopathic drugs, which ultimately can lead to disaster.

A few examples Dr. Fugh-Berman used to valid her point, in 2009 130 people who had used Zicam, a product that contains zinc, reported losing their sense of smell. Too much zinc can be toxic. The FDA issued a warning about Zicam and zinc based products due to these findings. In 2010 the FDA recalled Hyland Teething Tablets because they contained unreliable amounts of belladonna. Examples such as those previous mentioned are just a few of the reasons the FDA has decided to take a closer look at homeopathic drugs, but for now, the consumer will have to make their own decision.




Christensen, J.,(2015), “Homeopathic Medicine Under FDA Scrutiny”, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/20/health/homeopathic-medicine-fda/index.html, retrieved, 25. April, 2015

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Kelley Simmons
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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