Monopharmacy is the practice of giving only one single medicine to a patient at a time. Polypharmacy is the administration of many medicines or the mixture of many medicines to the patient at a time.
Dr. Hahnemann strongly recommends the practice of monopharmacy only. Dr. Boenninghausen was interested in experimenting with Polypharmacy in homeopathy. Considering his interest, Hahnemann with careful experimentation and inductive methodologies, came to a final conclusion that for homeopathic principles and practice monopharmacy alone is suitable.
In § 273 of the 6th edition of Organon Hahnemann concludes “In no case under treatment it is it is necessary and therefore not permissible to administer to the patient more than one single simple medicinal substance at a time”. “It is wrong to employ complex means when simple means is sufficed” (§274).
During and before the times of Hahnemann, complex prescriptions were practiced by many physicians. So many medicines even 400 medicines at a time were prescribed to the patient during Hahnemann. Hahnemann is the first person to advocate single simple medicine.
Why Monopharmacy is correct?
1. Homeopathic medicines are proved on healthy humans only in a single, simple form. Symptoms are recorded thoroughly in that order only. Hence to observe the remedy reactions properly, it is always ideal to prescribe only a simple and single remedy.
2. Every homeopath considers the symptoms produced by the patient as a single unit. Based on this totality and anamnesis, he has to individualize the case and choose a suitable remedy. This is because we consider the man as a single unit. The constitutional approach and the holistic approach support it.
3. According to basic principles of homeopathy, only the well-chosen a single simple, remedy brings out the cure. On the contrary, multiple remedies prescribed based on the pathological conditions of the patient only palliate the condition.
4. Homeopathic cure is termed as the secondary curative reaction of the vital force for the primary action of the drug. As the vital force is a single force, it can react only to the single action of a single medicine at a time. But in polypharmacy more than one remedy is prescribed, vital force cannot produce different types of secondary actions to different types of primary actions produced by different medicines. Hence, the cure is not possible in such cases.
5. Continuous usage of Polypharmacy in some cases, brings about iatrogenic diseases.
6. Remedy reactions become confused in the case of Polypharmacy as we cannot understand which remedy is acting curatively and which one is having a damaging effect. Hence, in case of a bad and fatal prognosis antidoting the remedy becomes almost impossible.
7. Hahnemann says, “It is wrong to attempt to employ complex means when simple means suffice”. When experience has proved that single simple medicine alone can bring about the cure, it is illogical and irrational to practice Polypharmacy.
8. Administration of a single remedy is safer than the administration of complex remedies.
9. Combination of more than one remedy will bring about a complex picture, which is different from the original picture of every single remedy. The pathogenetic actions of two remedial substances are totally different when they are proven separately and when they are proven singly. Example: the symptoms produced by Hepar. sulph is different from the symptoms produced by either Sulphur alone or Calcarea carb alone.
10. When two remedies are mixed together, either they antidote or alter each other’s action in the organism.
11. Some prescriptions support the use of “alternating remedies”. This process is the administration of two remedies in a patient one after another in the alternating method till the patient recovers. But in homeopathic prescriptions, alternating symptoms also becomes one of the characteristic symptoms of the case based on which choosing a single individualistic remedy becomes very easy.
12. Only those substances which are found in the nature in the complex yet stable form must be considered as the single, simple drug substance by a homeopath. Example: Natrium sulph, Calcarea sulph etc. The alkaloids extracted artificially from these plants in the isolated form are not simple medicinal substances. Example: chinin, strychnine, morphine etc. but the same can be considered as the single, simple medicines, if they are prepared in their natural form as found in plants. Ex: Peruvian bark, Nux vomica, Opium, etc (footnote to § 273). By the pain taking works of pioneers, many number of individualistic drug pictures have been added to the homeopathic materia medica. So, many new remedies are getting added even today. Now it is possible to choose one single simple remedy for every case. Hence, the concept of monopharmacy (law of simplex) remained alive even after the publication of 6th edition.