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FDA Proposed Changes: Doctors to Learn About Acupuncture as an Alternative Treatment for Pain

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Chiropractors and acupuncturists have been lobbying for a larger role in treating pain and have won a preliminary endorsement from FDA officials!

The FDA recently released proposed changes to its blueprint for education health care provides on treating pain. The new guidelines recommend doctors get information on chiropractic and acupuncture as therapies in an effort for patients to avoid prescription opioids.

“[Health care providers] should be knowledgeable about the range of available therapies, when they may be helpful, and when they should be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to pain management,” the FDA wrote in the proposal.

These suggested changes came about after chiropractors and acupuncturists have lobbied Congress and state legislatures to increase their role in treating chronic pain.

In 2016 in Oregon, the state Medicaid program decided to cover chiropractic care for lower back pain. Now additional states are considering a similar move. Earlier this year, chiropractors were ecstatic when the American College of Physicians recommended non-surgical treatments like chiropractic care, acupuncture and yoga as the initial options in treating low back pain.

The FDA’s draft is not final yet, drug makers, doctors and alternative medicine providers will have a chance to comment. The FDA is taking take public comments until July 10th. 

This drafted blueprint is part of the FDA strategy from 2011 to address a crisis on prescription drug abuse. Opioid manufacturers are required to provide education to health care providers prescribing their pain medication, but chiropractic care and acupuncture were not mentioned in the initial plan as to what the education might be.

Sarah Peddicord, a spokesperson for the FDA said the FDA is looking to give prescribers more information on a wide range of approaches for pain management which include non-pharmacologic therapies.

Source: Business Insider