Choosing Wisely:

Don’t use homeopathic medications, non-vitamin dietary supplements or herbal supplements as treatments for disease or preventive health measures.

Rationale and Comments: Alternative therapies are often assumed safe and effective just because they are “natural.” There is a lack of stringent quality control of the ingredients present in many herbal and dietary supplements. Reliable evidence that these products are effective is often lacking, but substantial evidence exists that they may produce harm. Indirect health risks also occur when these products delay or replace more effective forms of treatment or when they compromise the efficacy of conventional medicines.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Academy of Clinical Toxicology
  • American College of Medical Toxicology
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Alternative medicine
  • Preventive Medicine
  • References: • Woodward KN. The potential impact of the use of the homeopathic and herbal medicines on monitoring the safety of prescription products. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2005;24:219-33.
    • Thompson E, Barron S, Spence D. A preliminary audit investigating remedy reactions including adverse events in routine homeopathic practice. Homeopathy. 2004;93:203-9.
    • De Smet PA. Health risks of herbal remedies. Drug Saf. 1995;13:81-93.
    • Farah MH, Edwards R, Lindquist M, Leon C, Shaw D. International monitoring of adverse health effects associated with herbal medicines. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2000;9(2):105-12.
    • Drew AK, Myers SP. Safety issues in herbal medicine: implications for the health professions. Med J Aust. 1997;166:538-41.

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