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December 3, 1997

Acceptance of Some Acupuncture Applications

JAMA. 1997;278(21):1725-1727. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550210021013

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CAUTIOUS approval of some applications of acupuncture has been handed down by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus development meeting.

The 12-member panel, asked to evaluate current evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture, concluded that there is "clear evidence" of efficacy in the control of the nausea and vomiting that occurs in some patients postoperatively and in association with chemotherapy, and for relief of postoperative dental pain. The panel said that acupuncture is "probably" also effective in the control of nausea in early pregnancy.

The panelists added that there were "reasonable" studies showing that the use of acupuncture, by itself or as an adjunct to other therapies, resulted in satisfactory treatment of a number of other conditions, even though there was not "firm evidence of efficacy at this time." These conditions include addiction to illicit drugs and alcohol (but not to tobacco), stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow