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FDA Encourages MDs to Educate Themselves About Acupuncture

This week, the FDA released proposed changes about a guideline recommending that primary care physicians (PCPs) educate themselves about alternative treatments for the relief of pain, such as chiropractic work and acupuncture. With the increase of opioid abuse in the nation, more attention is being paid to alternative treatments for pain relief. Much attention has been focused on traditionally integrative medicines, such as acupuncture, due to recent studies that have come out about its' effectiveness with treating pain. For example, in my last blog I mentioned the NCCIH's meta-analysis of studies from 1988 to March 2016 comparing different treatment modalities and their effectiveness with chronic pain relief. Acupuncture was found to be the most effective model for both back pain and osteoarthritis. The hope is that if PCPs are more educated about the different treatment options out there, and what they can provide for their patient, then the potential for new prescription opioid abuse will decrease as will current abuse. More specifically, the FDA is encouraging PCPs to learn about these different treatment options for pain so that they can refer their patients to these different medicine modalities first, instead of first turning to prescription pain medication and even surgery. The below link shows the blueprint for the FDA's guidelines recommending the education of PCPs about different treatment modalities. They are accepting public comments until July 2017 so feel free to post a comment to their board page if you also feel that educating PCPs about the benefits of medicine like acupuncture could be helpful for both pain relief and the opioid epidemic!

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