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Do Homoeopathic Medicines Have an Expiry Date?

HomoeopathicMedicines

One of the biggest questions that arise in the minds of many homeopathic medicine users is the validity of the medicines. There have been many doubts and misconceptions about the working process of homeopathic medicines for centuries ago.

Now that it has been used widely all over the world and due to the increase in the online purchase of medicine in India, people have started questioning the expiry date of each medicine they purchase. As it gains more popularity, the controversy around its action also has increased. Because of these, the action of homeopathic medicines has been under extensive research. But controversies always exist in all kinds of medical systems. Fixing an exact date of exact expiry is one such controversial subject and is difficult in homoeopathy because the stability of the medicine varies for each medicine.

What is the shelf life of a medicine?

The term shelf life refers to the duration of time during which an active ingredient is actively present in the given medicinal product. This shelf life is affected by various factors such as weather, temperature, and the nature of the active principles of the drug.

Homeopathic medicines are prepared from various sources such as plants, animals, minerals, chemicals, metals, etc. Accordingly, the shelf life also differs and there was no universal standard for determining the completion of this shelf life in homeopathy.

Also, there is a lack of scientific data regarding the determination of an expiry date for homeopathic medicines. Efforts have been taken by many countries to introduce a standard protocol and to develop a standard methodology to fix this issue.

The expiry date for a homeopathic medicine

It is one of the most asked questions when it comes to using homeopathic medicines. Unlike the conventional system of medicine, homeopathic medicines especially the homeopathic dilutions and mother tinctures did not have a particular expiry date written on the label until a few years ago.

This is because the expiry date of a homeopathic medicine varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and from country to country. There was no proper guideline or standard methodology to resolve this problem. It was not only a concern for the patients but also an unclear subject for the pharmacists and physicians as well.

The expiry date of homeopathic medicine in other countries

The homeopathic drug regulatory framework differs in different countries. Even at present, universal rules and guidelines do not exist for this purpose. According to a recent study conducted on the drug regulatory system of four countries (Brazil, Germany, India, and the United States), it was confirmed that the expiry of homeopathic medicines varies from country to country.

The US has exempted homeopathic medicines from expiry dates, India has fixed it as 5 years from the date of manufacturing, Brazil has given an expiry date of 5 years for finished products but the potencies have been exempted from expiry date while Germany also follows an expiry date of 5 years for both potencies and finished products with few exceptions.

Read More How to find authentic homeopathic medicines online?

The expiry date of homeopathic medicines in India

There was no fixed expiry date for homeopathic medicines until 2008 in India when the Government made it mandatory to give the expiry date on the label be it homeopathic products, homeopathic dilutions, or homeopathic mother tinctures. However, from November 2017 onwards, Government has removed the expiry for dilutions. According to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules, the shelf life for homeopathic medicines should not exceed more than 5 years irrespective of the source of the drug, except for dilutions. This is not based on a scientific evaluation but a general evaluation.

To determine the expiry date of each homeopathic medicine, a lot of analysis, data, research, etc, would be needed. There is a wide difference between the action of conventional medicines and homeopathic medicines. The same methodology of fixing an expiry date cannot be applied to any two systems of medicines as they are innately different in nature and action.

Even in homeopathy, a particular date or period cannot be attributed to all the medicines as the shelf life of organic matter-based medicine and inorganic matter-based medicine cannot be the same.

A 5 years expiry for homeopathic medicines is just theoretical to safeguard the consumers. If it has to be done properly, the shelf life of many medicines would exceed or decrease the given period. Many studies show the efficacy of ultra-high dilution of homeopathic medicines even after 10 to 20 years.

On the other hand, it may reduce to less than 5 years. Some homeopathic ultra dilutions are known to possess longer and more complex activity. So giving a few years of effectiveness to these long-acting medicines is just a beginning to rationalize the shelf-life. Even some other traditional systems of medicine have a far longer expiry date or no expiry date at all.

AYUSH and other regulatory bodies all over the world should are taking proper steps to conduct various tests and experiments on this subject and provide a proper expiry period for homeopathic medicines with a scientific basis. It would be a very long and cumbersome process but at least an exact evaluation of an expiry date for different groups of medicines prepared from different sources has started.

For now, homeopathic medicines be they dilutions, mother tinctures, or products can be used for five years without any doubts about their action or effectiveness of them. So yes homeopathic medicines do have an expiry date and it is 5 years from the date of manufacturing, except for dilutions!

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