Homeopathic drugs offer alternative ways to treat a variety of ailments through the use of natural compounds rather than lab-produced drugs, but the lack of regulation on homeopathic drugs poses a significant risk for many who choose to use these types of treatments.
Homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo [similar] and pathos [suffering from disease]. The logic behind homeopathic drugs comes from the idea that disease symptoms can be cured with small doses of substances that inflict the same symptoms in healthy people.
According to Food and Drug Administration, FDA, the homeopathic drug companies have seen a surge of popularity in the recent times, something which can pose a threat to people taking the drugs.
Homeopathic drugs are not subject to the same scrutiny that lab derived drugs must overcome prior to coming to market. Homeopathic drugs are not required to demonstrate effectiveness, that is that they actually alleviate symptoms, prior coming out onto the market.
They can be subject to evaluation after coming out onto market, but currently the FDA does not have the authority to remove homeopathic drugs that are demonstrated to be ineffective or harmful.
Recently, the drug company Hyland has come under fire from the FDA to remove one of its products from market designed to alleviate gum pain in teething infants. In a study from 2006 to 2016, the FDA collected data that demonstrated that the product could pose harmful, and even deadly to infants.
Parents who gave their infants this product reported twitching in the limbs, seizures and even death following administration of the drug. Unfortunately, it is difficult for the FDA to prove that homeopathic drugs are effective or harmful.
The issue comes from the belief that far fewer incidences are reported than ones that actually occur. Perhaps this discrepancy comes from the misunderstanding or belief that simply because something is natural, it cannot be harmful to you.
Many people are more prepared to jump to the false conclusion that these substances do not interact harmfully with other medications, or cause harm themselves. As an example, one of the ingredients in Hyland’s pain-relieving gel is a known toxin at higher concentrations.
The gel and tablets contain the herb atropa belladonna, colloquially known as deadly nightshade. As mentioned, homeopathic drugs take poisonous substances and dilute them to a point that may prove useful as treatments for certain ailments.
Belladonna, when properly diluted, has been used in the past as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever and to treat motion sickness. Additionally, it has been used in the past as a poison.
History has demonstrated that the proper use of the herb can provide some benefits, but the FDA’s issue with Hyland was that there was an inconsistent concentration of the ingredient in the product. The FDA then pushed Hyland to address the manufacturing issue.
Hyland eventually agreed to remove the product in Sept. 2016, but only after several warnings from the FDA.
The compound agreed to redesign the manufacturing process and the recipe for the medication. However, it did not concede that the product was in fact harmful, nor did it acknowledge the possibility that its product was responsible for the death and hospitalization of over 300 infants.
Currently the drug is no longer being manufactured, but it was never recalled. Since it was not recalled ,consumers could still buy the product on Amazon and in stores for the last few months.
Currently the FDA is pushing legislation that would grant itself the authority to impose recalls on homeopathic drugs that it demonstrates to be harmful.