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5 March 2002 Annals of Internal Medicine Tip Sheet

Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 215-351-2656.

ACP-ASIM Outlines Criteria to Guide the Relationship Between Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry

(See news release.)

Burnout of Young Doctors Affects Careers, Recruiting and Patient Care

(See news release.)

Acupuncture: Traditional Theory, Efficacy and Practice

Acupuncture, an ancient East Asian therapy that is becoming more widespread in the West, is the subject of the ninth article in a series on complementary and alternative medicine in Annals of Internal Medicine (Academia and Clinic, p. 374). Acupuncture uses various procedures, such as heat and pressure but mainly fine needles, to stimulate points on the body to relieve pain. The Annals article reviews the historical and theoretical framework of acupuncture, the scientific evidence for its claims to effectiveness, its safety profile, and the training of practitioners in the United States.

Randomized trials have found that acupuncture is effective for treating vomiting after chemotherapy or surgery, and nausea associated with pregnancy. It may be effective for relieving dental pain. It is not effective in treating ringing in the ears or addiction to alcohol, tobacco or chemicals. Several clinical trials have come to contradictory conclusions on its effectiveness in treating chronic pain, back pain and headache.

Acupuncture appears relatively safe, if practiced by trained acupuncturists. It can produce complications associated with any type of needle use. The number of acupuncturists in the United States, estimated at about 11,000 practitioners without traditional medical degrees and 3,000 acupuncturists with medical degrees, is expected to double by 2005 and quadruple by 2015.

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