Drug Regulators, EMA, Publish Reflection Paper on Ethanol Content in Herbal Medicinal Products and Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Used in Children
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Herbal medicinal products may contain significant levels of ethanol arising from its use as an extraction solvent in liquid extracts and tinctures or when added as a diluent to liquid herbal preparations. The use of ethanol is necessary for extraction of some constituents that are important for efficacy. Ethanol is metabolically active, therefore formulations without ethanol or with the lowest achievable level should be selected to avoid systemic exposure when the target population is children.
The scope of this paper is to reflect the need for safety limits for ethanol exposure by oral herbal medicinal products intended for the paediatric population. Establishing these limits is viewed as necessary to protect health and to allow safe free movement of goods within the EU. In addition, this will ensure a harmonised approach in assessment work among Member States as well as in the establishment by the HMPC of Community herbal monographs and of the list of herbal substances, preparations and combinations thereof for use in traditional herbal medicinal products (respectively Article 16h (2,) and Article 16f (3) of Directive 2001/83/EC as amended).
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