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J Acupunct Res > Volume 32(3); 2015 > Article
Bae, Lee, Kim, Kim, Suh, Kim, Lee, Ha, Kim, Chung, Lee, Kim, Kim, and Lee: Stability and Safety of Bee Venom with and without Additives
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Previous studies have shown that the amount of melittin, the main active ingredient in bee venom pharmacopuncture, tends to decrease substantially with time during pharmacopuncture manufacture. This study aimed to assess whether the stability of bee venom pharmacopuncture improved with pharmacopuncture additives.


Components were measured using high performance liquid chromatography. Acute toxicity and antigenicity tests by subcutaneous and venous routes were conducted at Korea Pharmaceutical Test & Research Institute and mortality, adverse reactions, and body weight changes were assessed.


Stability tests using additives revealed that bee venom without additives was most stable. Bee venom pharmacopuncture without additives was further tested for toxicity in subcutaneous and venous administration in mice and no changes pertaining to toxicity were found over the testing period.


Bee venom pharmacopuncture without additives was found to be most stable, and further, it did not show toxicity or antigenicity in subcutaneous and venous administration in mice.

Fig. 1
The structure of melittin
Table 1
Composition of the Mobile Phase Employed in the Gradient LC System
Time(min) Composition of mobile phase(%)
0.1 % TFA in water 0.1 % TFA in acetonitrile
0 95 5
40 20 80
50 95 5
60 95 5

LC : high performance liquid chromatography.

TFA : trifluoroacetic acid.

Table 2
Stability of Melittin by Adjustment Using Additives
0 1 2
BV 49.68 44.95 33.15
BV+pH 33.74 17.85 14.31
BV+NaCl 45.42 18.22 12.00
BV+pH+NaCl 43.27 22.50 4.96
Table 3
Indication of Bee Sting Therapy According to International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems(ICD)
Chapter Diseases and related health problems
1) Certain infections and parasitic diseases Tinea pedis, tetanus
2) Neoplasms Malignant neoplasm of thyroid gland, malignant neoplasm of uterus, malignant neoplasm of breast, malignant neoplasm of skin, malignant neoplasm of stomach, malignant neoplasm of oral cavity, malignant neoplasm of larynx, malignant neoplasm of colon
3) Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism Anemia
4) Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases Goitre, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, obesity
5) Mental and behavioural disorders Tic disorders(eye blinking), somatoform disorders, dementia
6) Diseases of the nervous system Bell’s palsy, migraine, epilepsy, intercostal neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, polyneuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy
7) Diseases of the eye and adnexa Cataract, conjunctivitis, uveitis
8) Diseases of the ear and mastoid process Otitis media
9) Diseases of the circulatory system Haemorrhoids, essential hypertension, paroxysmal tachycardia, cerebrovascular diseases, hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, atherosclerosis
10) Diseases of the respiratory system Asthma, chronic bronchitis, common cold, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, abscess of lung
11) Diseases of the digestive system Fibrosis and cirrhosis of liver, anal fistula, periodontitis, appendicitis, stomatitis, gastritis
12) Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue Urticaria, acne, eczema, androgenic alopecia, decubitus ulcer
13) Diseases of musculoskeletal system and connective tissue Adhesive capsulitis of shoulder, low back pain, lumbar disc disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, gonarthrosis, tuberculous arthritis, tuberculous of spine, spondylosis, gout, cervical disc disorders, osteoporosis
14) Diseases of the genitourinary system Dysmenorrhoea, leukorrhoea, cystitis, impotence, nephritis, hypertrophy of prostate, urinary incontinence
15) Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium Complications of labour and delivery
16) Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified Lump, stupor, hiccough
17) Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of the external causes Frosbite, sprain of ankle, sprain of lumbar spine


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