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You Asked: Is Homeopathic Medicine Regulated by the FDA?

You're asking and I'm answering.

Dear Fit,
I recently went to see a naturopath about my eczema and she gave me some homeopathic medicine. I'm a little nervous about taking these weird little pills. Are they regulated by the FDA?
—Skeptical Stacey

This is a great question since many people are trying alternative and complementary forms of medicine when the Western medicine route doesn't work. To see my answer, just


The FDA does in fact regulate homeopathic medicine, but not in the same way or to the same degree as prescription drugs. In 1938, the US Congress passed a law declaring that homeopathic remedies must be regulated by the FDA in the same manner as nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Nowadays though, new OTC drugs are subjected to thorough testing and review by the FDA for both safety and effectiveness before they can hit the shelves, but oddly enough this requirement doesn't apply to homeopathic drugs. These medications are, however, required to meet certain legal standards for strength, quality, purity, and packaging. In 1988, the FDA began requiring all homeopathic medicines to be labeled as "homeopathic." Their labels must also list the ingredients, dilutions, instructions for use, and what specific medical problems the medicine is intended to treat. In the FDA's opinion, homeopathic medications contain little or no pharmacologically active ingredients, so there's no real safety concern and that's why the FDA isn't as strict about the regulations. I'm not sure how you'll take this info, but I'd talk to your regular doctor if you have any concerns.


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