As more Americans become addicted to painkillers, many traditional Chinese medicine practitioners are seeking out new treatments that may help patients recover faster and with less pain.
But some doctors are wary of the risks of traditional Chinese medicines.
In a report from NBC News, NPR and other news organizations, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 50 percent of doctors surveyed in the United States were unaware that Chinese medicine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for pain management.
“We have a very broad spectrum of traditional medicine,” said Dr. Yoon-Kyung Kim, a clinical fellow at the Center.
“It includes traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese massage, Chinese acupuncture, Chinese neuropathy, traditional Chinese herbs, and Chinese medicine for other kinds of chronic pain.”
The FDA said in a statement that the agency is currently reviewing the report, and the agency has not found evidence that the use of Chinese medicines in the American market is unsafe.
“The FDA does not endorse or recommend any particular treatment or drug for any condition,” said an FDA spokesman.
“However, the FDA is committed to conducting rigorous oversight of all drugs, treatments, devices, and other products and services marketed to the public.”
This is not the first time the FDA has raised concerns about traditional Chinese treatments.
In 2009, the agency said it would require that Chinese medicines be listed as drugs on the agency’s drug database.
The agency’s rules require manufacturers to describe how they are used, and they do not allow for specific uses.
The FDA is now taking a more proactive stance on traditional Chinese products, and in 2016 the agency gave approval for four drugs to Chinese manufacturers, including two products that use herbal medicine to treat chronic pain.
The new report, which was published by the CDC, found that in 2016, Chinese herbal medicines were approved by just 12 percent of the country’s doctors.
It also found that of the Chinese pharmaceutical companies that submitted applications, just 3 percent had any evidence of safety and efficacy.
According to the report’s authors, “There are no national guidelines for the use or administration of traditional or alternative Chinese medicine.”