Have you ever used “Rhus tox” (poison oak) for joint stiffness? Or “teething tablets” for a child’s toothache? If so, you have used a homeopathic remedy! This column looks at the differences between homeopathic remedies and other over-the-counter medicines to help you make decisions about your health.
What are Homeopathic Remedies?
In the 1700’s, people would use things from plants, animals, and minerals, such as crushed whole bees, dried stinging nettle, or pollen, to treat illnesses. Such ingredients have continued to be used until this day and are called homeopathic remedies. Today, there are many other over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, antihistamines, and cough syrups, available to treat simple illnesses, but some people still use homeopathic remedies.
Over-the-Counter Medicine versus Homeopathic Remedies
Over-the-counter medications are made for people to use without the help of a doctor when they are sick. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure over-the-counter medications are safe and work for people. Homeopathic remedies are not held to the same standards as other over-the-counter medications. Because they do not have to prove to the FDA they are safe or work in order to be sold to the public, users are at risk of side effects and could experience worse outcomes such as being hospitalized. Caution is recommended when using homeopathic remedies because of limited proof of safety and proof they work.
Example of Trouble with Homeopathic Remedies
Like any drug, dietary supplement, or over-the-counter medicine, homeopathic remedies can have side effects or drug interactions. Baby teething tablets, such as Hyland’s Teething Tablets, were a common homeopathic remedy sold in the pharmacy. For the safety of the children, these tablets were taken off of the pharmacy shelves recently because of reports of irritability, extreme sleepiness, shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, seizures and death linked to taking teething tablets.
What is Being Done
The FDA is now working on requiring the makers of homeopathic remedies to give proof that the products are safe and work for the general public. By doing this, homeopathic remedies that cannot prove they are safe and work will no longer be sold.
How YOUR Local Pharmacy Can Help
From homeopathic remedies to over-the-counter medications and more, we at Topeka Pharmacy are happy to help guide you to a safe over-the-counter medication that works. You and your family’s health matter most to us, and we are more than willing to lend a hand in ensuring your health and safety!