Abstract ID: 3320

Primary Topic: State of the science/evidence base for integrative modalities
Secondary Topic: Whole systems and acupuncture (including TCM and Ayurveda)

Can acupuncture be an opioid-sparing treatment for chronic pain management?
Lucy Chen, M.D., MGH, Boston, MA, United States; Jianren Mao, M.D. PhD, , Boston, MA, United States

Late Breaker: No

Overview

opioids are often used to treat moderate to severe cancer-related pain. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in opioid use for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer-related pain conditions despite riskes and lack of clear evidence of its effectiveness.  Based on the CDC report, nearly two million Americans were dependent on prescription opioids for pain relief in 2014 alone.  Deaths from opioid overdose have more than quadrupled since 1999.  Accordingly, non-pharmacologic therapies and non-opioid pharmacological therapies are perferred for chronic pain management.

Various modalities of complementary and alternative medicine, particularly acupunture, have been used in acute and chronic pain management.  Indeed, acupuncture could become a useful adjunctive therapy for chronic pain management to reduce the opioid use.  However, the pressing issue is to understand the role of acupuncture in chronic pain control and to explore innovative assessment tools for the effectiveness.  The objective of this symposium is to provide 1) information about current opioid-related issues in pain management, 2) data from current clinical trials on the role of acupuncture therapy in pain management, and 3) current research on innovative assessment tools for evaluation of acupuncture effectiveness.

Rationale

Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, and is one of the most common causes for many patients to seek medical assistance. There has been a dramatic increase in opioid use in the treatment of chronic, non-cancer-related pain conditions and deaths from opioid overdose have more than quadrupled over the last two decades.

Despite new pain medications and advancement in interventional and surgical procedures for chronic pain management, non-opioid treatments are urgently needed in clinical practice.  However, it remains unclear as to how effectively acupuncture can be used as an opioid-sparing tool for the management of chronic pain conditions with regard to clinical outcomes and assessment tools that should be used to analyze clinical outcomes.

This symposium will address both of these issues and provide the up-to-date information from the literature as well as our own clinical studies.

Dr. Chen will serve as the moderator and a speaker.  She will discuss current data on the effectiveness of acupunture therapy in pain management.  Dr. Mao will discuss the issues related to opioid use as well as innovative tools to assess acupuncture trials.

Objectives

1) To understand the role of acupuncture thepray in pain management;

2) To provide research data on the efficacy of acupuncture therapy;

3) To discuss innovative assessment tools for evaluation of acupuncture effectiveness.

Methods/Session Format

Session time: 60 min

Each speaker will take 25 min for presentation and the entire panel will have 10 min for Q&A.

Outline

1) Clinical efficacy of acupunture treatment;

2) Chellenges in acupunture trials for pain management;

3) Role of translational research in developing innovative assessment tools for evaluation of acupuncture effectiveness.