The FDA has proposed that doctors learn about acupuncture as an alternative treatment for pain
As a Doctor of Chiropractic practicing since 1998, we have seen a steady rise in opiate prescription for patients that we have co-managed. With the unfortunate death toll now at over 183,000 people just since 1999, new guidelines from the FDA now recommend Chiropractic and Acupuncture as a front line approach before prescription of opiates.
Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999,1,2 and so have sales of these prescription drugs.3 From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to PRESCRIPTION opioids.1,2
Chiropractors and acupuncturists who have lobbied for a bigger role in treating pain have won a preliminary endorsement from federal health officials.
The Food and Drug Administration released proposed changes Wednesday to its blueprint on educating health care providers about treating pain. The guidelines now recommend that doctors get information about chiropractic care and acupuncture as therapies that might help patients 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 agency wrote in the proposal.
The suggested changes come as chiropractors and other alternative medicine providers have stepped up lobbying Congress and state legislatures to elevate their role in treating chronic pain. They’ve scored several big victories in recent years.
In Oregon, the state Medicaid program decided to cover chiropractic care for lower back pain starting in 2016. Other states are considering similar moves. And earlier this year, the chiropractic industry cheered when the American College of Physicians recommended non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic care as the first options for treating lower back pain.
The FDA’s draft blueprint isn’t final — and drug makers, doctors, and alternative medicine providers will all have a chance to weigh in. The FDA will take public comments through July 10.
The blueprint released this week is part of a strategy the FDA rolled out in 2011 to address a crisis of prescription drug abuse. The FDA required opioid manufacturers to provide education for health providers who prescribe their pain medications — but didn’t mention chiropractic care or acupuncture in its initial blueprint for what that education ought to look like.
Now, the agency is seeking to give prescribers more information on a broader range of approaches to manage pain, including non-pharmacologic therapies, said Sarah Peddicord, a spokesperson for the FDA.
If you or someone you care about is dealing with chronic pain, please forward this. It just may save their life. Dr. Jeffrey Swanson at Cedar Park Chiropractic and Acupuncture has 19 years experience treating and managing patients. Feel free to contact us at 512-335-0641