May 12, 2017

It's time for docs to learn more about acupuncture, chiropractic care, FDA says

Daily Briefing

FDA on Wednesday proposed increasing the role acupuncturists and chiropractors play in managing patients' pain.

Background

The changes are part of FDA's Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy launched in 2011, which supports nationwide efforts to combat opioid misuse.

As part of that effort, FDA began issuing a blueprint on educating providers on how to treat pain that all health care providers who prescribe opioids must review, Politico Pro's "Pulse" reports. However, the initial blueprint did not include alternative medicine typically provided by acupuncturists and chiropractors, and, according to STAT News, those groups in recent years have increased lobbying efforts to put a greater emphasis on the types of therapies they provide.

Proposed changes

In draft revisions to its blueprint, FDA recommended that doctors become more familiar with alternative therapies for treating pain, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractics.

The agency wrote, "[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."

Sarah Peddicord, spokesperson for FDA, said in this latest update, the agency is seeking to educate providers on a broader range of approaches to manage pain, including non-drug options.

According to STAT News, FDA will accept public comments on the proposed changes through July 10 (Thielking, STAT News, 5/10; Diamond, "Pulse," Politico Pro, 5/11).

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