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.
As opioid crisis flares, naturopaths and chiropractors lobby for bigger roles in treating pain 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.
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