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Mistletoe Extracts (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information

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Mistletoe extracts are usually given by subcutaneous injection, although administration by other routes (i.e., oral, intrapleural, intratumoral, and intravenous) has been described.[17,21,22,23,32,58,59,60,61,62,63] Reviewed in [20,24,36,49,51,54] In most reported studies, subcutaneous injections were given 2 to 3 times a week, but the overall duration of treatment varied considerably.

Viscum album is listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, which is the officially recognized compendium for homeopathic drugs in this country.[64] Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory authority over homeopathic drugs, this authority is usually not exercised unless the drugs are formulated for injection or there is evidence of severe toxicity. At present, the FDA does not allow the importation or distribution of injectable preparations of mistletoe, including homeopathic formulations, except for the purpose of clinical research. The extracts are not available commercially in the United States and are not approved as a treatment for people with cancer.

Before researchers can conduct clinical drug research in the United States, they must file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA. IND approval is also required for clinical investigation of homeopathic drugs. The FDA does not disclose information about IND applications or approvals; this information can be released only by the applicants. At least two U.S. investigators were given IND approval to study mistletoe as a treatment for people with cancer (NCCAM-02-AT-260 and TJUH-01F.45). The final clinical trial results have not been reported.

In this summary, the mistletoe extract or product used in each study will be specified wherever possible.

References:

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This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

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Last Updated: September 04, 2014
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