Apis mellifera, Apis Venenum Purum, Apitoxin, Apitoxine, Bald-faced Hornet, Bee Sting Venom, Bombus terrestis, Bumblebee Venom, Frelon à Face Blanche, Frelon Jaune, Guêpe à Taches Blanches, Honeybee Venom, Mixed Vespids, Pure Bee Venom, Veneno de Abeja, Venin d'Abeille, Venin d'Abeille Mellifère, Venin d'Abeille Pure, Venin de Bourdon, Venin de Guêpe, Vespula maculata, Wasp Venom, White-Faced Hornet, Yellow Hornet, Yellow-Jacket Venom.


Overview Information

Bee venom is made by bees. This is the poison that makes bee stings painful. Bee venom is sometimes used to make medicine. Don't confuse bee venom with bee pollen, honey, propolis, or royal jelly.

Bee venom is given as a shot for bee sting allergy. It is also used for osteoarthritis, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), nerve pain, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Giving repeated and controlled injections of bee venom under the skin causes the immune system to get used to bee venom, and helps reduce the severity of an allergy to bee venom.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely Effective for

  • Bee sting allergy. A series of bee venom shots under the skin (bee venom immunotherapy) seems to be effective for reducing reactions to bee stings in people with severe allergy to bee stings. Bee venom immunotherapy provides 98% to 99% protection from reactions to bee stings. Once immunotherapy is stopped, the risk of reaction over the next 5 to 10 years is about 5% to 15%. Purified bee venom for under-the-skin injection is an FDA approved product.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Administering live bee stings in gradually increasing doses up to 20 stings given three times weekly does not seem to improve multiples sclerosis. Treatment for 24 weeks does not seem to improve fatigue, disability, or quality of life.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint (frozen shoulder). Early research suggests that receiving dilute bee venom injections might improve pain and disability in people with frozen shoulder. But it doesn't seem to improve range of motion. Also, very dilute bee venom injects don't seem to be beneficial.
  • Osteoarthritis. Early research on the use of bee venom for osteoarthritis is mixed. But one large study shows that injecting bee venom into the skin at certain points in the knees and back might improve pain and function in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Parkinson disease. Early research shows that dilute bee venom injections may improve symptoms in people with Parkinson disease. But if the dose of bee venom is too low, it might not help.
  • Stroke. Bee venom acupuncture seems to improve pain but not movement in people with shoulder pain after stroke.
  • A condition that causes nerve pain, itching, and dark patches of skin on the upper back (notalgia paresthetica).
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Painful conditions caused by overuse of tendons (tendinopathy).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bee venom for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When given as a shot: Bee venom is LIKELY SAFE for most people when injected under the skin by a trained medical professional. Some people might get redness and swelling where the injection is given. Side effects include itching, anxiety, trouble breathing, chest tightness, heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sleepiness, confusion, fainting, and low blood pressure. Side effects are more common in people with the worst allergies to bee stings, in people treated with honeybee venom, and in women. Serious allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis can occur.

Bee venom is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by live bee stings. Live bee stings have been safely administered under medical supervision in doses up to 20 bee stings three times weekly for up to 24 weeks.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if bee venom is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Bee venom is POSSIBLY SAFE when injected under the skin by a trained medical professional at recommended doses. Though harmful effects at usual doses have not been reported, some healthcare providers decrease the maintenance dose by half during pregnancy. High doses of bee venom are POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy because they can increase release of a chemical called histamine, which can cause the uterus to contract. This might lead to miscarriage. Avoid high doses of bee venom if you are pregnant.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Bee venom might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using bee venom.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with BEE VENOM

    Bee venom might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, bee venom might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
    Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For reducing the severity of allergic reactions to bee stings: Healthcare providers give bee venom as a shot (by injection) to "desensitize" people who are allergic to bee stings. Purified bee venom for under-the-skin injection is an FDA approved product.

View References


  • Abdulsalam MA, Ebrahim BE, Abdulsalam AJ. Immune thrombocytopenia after bee venom therapy: a case report. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16:107. View abstract.
  • Birnbaum J, Charpin D, Vervloet D. Rapid hymenoptera venom immunotherapy: comparative safety of three protocols. Clin Exp Allergy 1993;23:226-30. View abstract.
  • Bomalaski JS, Ford T, Hudson AP, Clark MA. Phospholipase A2-activating protein induces the synthesis of IL-1 and TNF in human monocytes. J Immunol 1995;154:4027-31. View abstract.
  • Bousquet J, Muller UR, Dreboro S, et al. Immunotherapy with hymenoptera venoms. Allergy 1987;42:401-13. View abstract.
  • Caldwell JR. Venoms, copper, and zinc in the treatment of arthritis. Rheum Dis Clin North Am 1999;25:919-28. View abstract.
  • Cho SY, Lee YE, Doo KH, et al. Efficacy of combined treatment with acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for Parkinson's disease. J Altern Complement Med 2018;24(1):25-32. View abstract.
  • Cho SY, Shim SR, Rhee HY, et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture in idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2012;18(8):948-52. View abstract.
  • Conrad VJ, Hazan LL, Latorre AJ, Jakubowska A, Kim CMH. Efficacy and safety of honey bee venom (Apis mellifera) dermal injections to treat osteoarthritis knee pain and physical disability: a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med 2019;25(8):845-55. View abstract.
  • Cuende E, Fraguas J, Pena JE, et al. Beekeepers' arthropathy. J Rheumatol 1999;26:2684-90. View abstract.
  • de Jong NW, Vermeulen AM, de Groot H. Allergy to bumblebee venom. III. Immunotherapy follow-up study (safety and efficacy) in patients with occupational bumblebee-venom anaphylaxis. Allergy 1999;54:980-4. View abstract.
  • Doo KH, Lee JH, Cho SY, et al. A Prospective Open-Label Study of Combined Treatment for Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease Using Acupuncture and Bee Venom Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Treatment. J Altern Complement Med. 2015;21(10):598-603. View abstract.
  • Ewan PW. ABC of allergies. Venom allergy. BMJ 1998;316:1365-8. View abstract.
  • Gennari C, Agnusdei D, Crepaldi G, et al. Effect of ipriflavone-a synthetic derivative of natural isoflavones-on bone mass loss in the early years after menopause. Menopause 1998;5:9-15. View abstract.
  • Golden DB, Kagey-Sobotka A, Lichtenstein LM. Survey of patients after discontinuing venom immunotherapy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000;105(2 Pt 1):385-90. View abstract.
  • Hartmann A, Müllner J, Meier N, et al. Bee Venom for the Treatment of Parkinson Disease - A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. PLoS One. 2016;11(7):e0158235. View abstract.
  • Hebel SK, ed. Drug Facts and Comparisons. 52nd ed. St. Louis: Facts and Comparisons, 1998.
  • Hider RC. Honeybee venom: A rich source of pharmacologically active peptides. Endeavour 1988;12:60-5.. View abstract.
  • Hollister-Stier Laboratories LLC. Instructions and dosing schedule for allergenic extracts hymenoptera venom prodcts. No. 355120-HD1.
  • Koh PS, Seo BK, Cho NS, Park HS, Park DS, Baek YH. Clinical effectiveness of bee venom acupuncture and physiotherapy in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis: a randomized controlled trial. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013;22(8):1053-62. View abstract.
  • Lee HJ, Park IS, Lee JI, Kim JS. Guillain-Barré syndrome following bee venom acupuncture. Intern Med. 2015;54(8):975-8. View abstract.
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  • Lim SM, Lee SH. Effectiveness of bee venom acupuncture in alleviating post-stroke shoulder pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Integr Med. 2015;13(4):241-7. View abstract.
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  • Senel E, Holt S, Demir E. Treatment of notalgia paresthetica with bee venom and capsaicin: a pilot study with 20 patients. Skinmed 2019;17(6):370-2. View abstract.
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  • Vick JA, Shipman WH. Effects of whole bee venom and its fractions (apamin and melittin) of plasma cortisol levels in the dog. Toxicon 1972;10:377-80.
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