General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine
(2000; 80 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1. Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Herbal Medicines
Open this folder and view contents2. Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Traditional Procedure-Based Therapies
Open this folder and view contents3. Clinical Research
Open this folder and view contents4. Other Issues and Considerations
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
Close this folderAnnex I. Guidelines for the Assessment of Herbal Medicinesa
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAssessment of Quality
View the documentAssessment of Safety
View the documentAssessment of Efficacy
View the documentIntended Use
View the documentUtilization of these Guidelines
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex II. Research Guidelines for Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Herbal Medicinesa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex III. Report of a WHO Consultation on Traditional Medicine and AIDS: Clinical Evaluation of Traditional Medicines and Natural Productsa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex IV. Definition of Levels of Evidence and Grading of Recommendationa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex V. Guidelines for Levels and Kinds of Evidence to Support Claims for Therapeutic Goodsa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex VI. Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (GCP) for Trials on Pharmaceutical Productsa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex VII. Guidance for Industry: Significant Scientific Agreement in the Review of Health Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplementsa
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex VIII. Guideline for Good Clinical Practicea
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex IX. WHO QOL (Quality of Life) User Manual: Facet Definitions and Response Scalesa
View the documentAnnex X. Participants in the WHO Consultation on Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine
 

Assessment of Safety

This should cover all relevant aspects of the safety assessment of a medicinal product. A guiding principle should be that, if the product has been traditionally used without demonstrated harm, no specific restrictive regulatory action should be undertaken unless new evidence demands a revised risk-benefit assessment.

A review of the relevant literature should be provided with original articles or references to the original articles. If official monograph/review results exist, reference can be made to them. However, although long term use without any evidence of risk may indicate that a medicine is harmless, it is not always certain how far one can rely solely on long-term usage to provide assurance of innocuity in the light of concern expressed in recent years over the long-term hazards of some herbal medicines.

Reported side-effects should be documented according to normal pharmacovigilance practices.

Toxicological studies

Toxicological studies, if available, should be part of the assessment. Literature should be indicated as above.

Documentation of safety based on experience

As a basic rule, documentation of a long period of use should be taken into consideration when assessing safety. This means that, when there are no detailed toxicological studies, documented experience of long-term use without evidence of safety problems should form the basis of the risk assessment. However, even in cases of drugs used over a long period, chronic toxicological risks may have occurred but may not have been recognized. The period of use, the health disorders treated, the number of users and the countries with experience should be specified. If a toxicological risk is known, toxicity data must be submitted. The assessment of risk, whether independent of dose or related to dose, should be documented. In the latter case, the dosage specification must be an important part of the risk assessment. An explanation of the risks should be given, if possible. Potential for misuse, abuse or dependence must be documented. If long-term traditional use cannot be documented or there are doubts on safety, toxicity data should be submitted.

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