Herbal and homeopathic products and other similar remedies such as Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines etc., cannot be identified as to their content (no federal standards exist and adulteration and misbranding are concerns). Because they are not classified as drugs by the FDA, these products cannot be administered to patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center except in Institutional Review Board approved protocols (clinical trials).
In addition healthcare providers should always inquire and document the use of complementary therapies with all patients. On admission or during perioperative assessment, patients identified as using complementary therapies should be advised about this policy. The concerns about safety and effectiveness should be explained and patients are to be asked to comply with this policy.