Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (4): 295-299.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.03.006

• Commentary • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Can eastern wisdom resolve western epidemics? Traditional chinese medicine therapies and the opioid crisis

Thomas Effertha,, An-long Xub, Roxana Damiescua, Mita Banerjeec, Norbert W. Pauld, David Y.W. Leee   

  1. a Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55128 Mainz, Germany
    b School of Life Science, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
    c Department of American Studies, Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55128 Mainz, Germany
    d Institute for the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University Medical Center, 55131 Mainz, Germany
    e Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  • Received:2019-09-17 Accepted:2021-02-02 Online:2021-08-15 Published:2021-03-23

The widespread use of opioids to treat chronic pain led to a nation-wide crisis in the United States. Tens of thousands of deaths annually occur mainly due to respiratory depression, the most dangerous side effect of opioids. Non-opioid drugs and non-pharmacological treatments without addictive potential are urgently required. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on a completely different medical theory than academic Western medicine. The scientific basis of acupuncture and herbal treatments as main TCM practices has been considerably improved during the past two decades, and large meta-analyses with thousands of patients provide evidence for their efficacy. Furthermore, opinion leaders in the United States favour non-pharmacological techniques including TCM for pain management to fight the opioid crisis. We advocate TCM as therapeutic option without addictive potential and without life-threatening side effects (e.g., respiratory depression) to treat chronic pain patients suffering from opioid misuse. The evidence suggests that: (1) opioid misuse cannot be satisfactorily managed with standard medication; (2) opinion leaders in the United States favour to consider non-opioid and non-pharmacological treatment strategies including those from TCM to treat acute and chronic pain conditions; (3) large meta-analyses provide scientific evidence for the clinical activity of acupuncture and herbal TCM remedies in the treatment of chronic pain. Future clinical trials should demonstrate the safety of TCM treatments if combined with Western medical practices to exclude negative interactions between both modalities.

Key words: Traditional Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Addiction, Opioid crisis, Pain

[1] Xin Yin, Shu-bin Cai, Lan-ting Tao, Lu-ming Chen, Zhong-de Zhang, Su-hong Xiao, Arthur Yin Fan, Xu Zou. Recovery of a patient with severe COVID-19 by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine adjuvant to standard care. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(5): 1-.
[2] Zahra Karimzadeh, Mansooreh Azizzadeh Forouzi, Haleh Tajadini, Mehdi Ahmadinejad, Callista Roy, Mahlagha Dehghan. Effects of lavender and Citrus aurantium on pain of conscious intensive care unit patients: A parallel randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(4): 333-339.
[3] Miao-yan Shi, Shi-qi Sun, Wei Zhang, Xing Zhang, Gui-hua Xu, Xuan Chen, Zi-jian Su, Xiu-ming Song, Lu-jiong Liu, Yi-bao Zhang, Yi-le Zhang, Meng Sun, Qi Chen, Yan Xue, Hua Lü, Wei-an Yuan, Xiao-rong Chen, Yun-fei Lu. Early therapeutic interventions of traditional Chinese medicine in COVID-19 patients: a retrospective cohort study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(3): 226-231.
[4] Qiu-yu Tong, Ran Liu, Kun Zhang, Yuan Gao, Guang-wei Cui, Wei-dong Shen. Can acupuncture therapy reduce preoperative anxiety? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2021, 19(1): 20-28.
[5] Arthur Yin Fan, Sherman Gu, Sarah Faggert Alemi, Research Group for Evidence-based Chinese Medicine. Chinese herbal medicine for COVID-19: Current evidence with systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(5): 385-394.
[6] Xian-jun Xiao, Lei-xiao Zhang, Yun-zhou Shi, Jun-peng Yao, Wei Cao, Ying Liu, Zi-hao Zou, Si-yuan Zhou, Ming-ling Chen, Chun-xiao Li, Qian-hua Zheng, Ying Li. Cupping therapy for patients with chronic urticaria: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(4): 303-312.
[7] Luciana Aikawa, Alexandre Massao Yoshizumi, Mirian Matsura Shirassu, Marcia Kiyomi Koike. Rapid acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain in the emergency room of the Hospital Servidor Publico Estadual, Brazil: A quasi-experimental study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(4): 313-318.
[8] Sherman Gu, Arthur Yin Fan. Controversial conclusions from two randomized controlled trials for acupuncture's effects on polycystic ovary syndrome or in vitro fertilization support. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(2): 89-91.
[9] Arthur Yin Fan, David Dehui Wang, Hui Ouyang, Haihe Tian, Hui Wei, Deguang He, Changzhen Gong, Jipu Wen, Ming Jin, Chong He, Sarah Faggert Alemi, Sudaba Rahimi. Acupuncture price in forty-one metropolitan regions in the United States: An out-of-pocket cost analysis based on OkCopay.com. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(5): 315-320.
[10] Tamer Aboushanab, Mohamed Khalil, YaserAl Ahmari. The present state of complementary medicine regulation in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(3): 147-149.
[11] Xin-yu Yue, Zhuo-qi Feng, Xi-yi Yu, Jia-min Hu, Xiao-Jing He, Shi Shu. Fire-needle acupuncture for upper limb spastic paralysis after stroke: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(3): 167-172.
[12] Ya-ru Huangfu, Wei Peng, Bao-jun Guo, Zhi-fu Shen, Li Li, Shi-wei, Liu, Hui Zheng, You-ping Hu. Effects of acupuncture in treating insomnia due to spleen-stomach disharmony syndrome and its influence on intestinal microbiome: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(3): 161-167.
[13] Arthur Yin Fan, Hui Ouyang, Xinru Qian, Hui Wei, David Dehui Wang, Deguang He, Haihe Tian, Changzhen Gong, Amy Matecki, Sarah Faggert Alemi. Discussions on real-world acupuncture treatments for chronic low-back pain in older adults. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(2): 71-76.
[14] Michelle T. Jesse, Mathew Kulas, Josephine Unitis, Nemie Beltran, Marwan Abouljoud. Acupuncture in living liver and kidney donors: a feasibility study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(1): 3-7.
[15] Jillian Marie McDowell, Susan Heather Kohut, Debra Betts . Safe acupuncture and dry needling during pregnancy: New Zealand physiotherapists’ opinion and practice. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(1): 30-37.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed   
[1] Xue-mei Liu, Qi-fu Huang, Yun-ling Zhang, Jin-li Lou, Hong-sheng Liu, Hong Zheng. Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. saponion on apoptosis of cortical neurons induced by hypoxia-reoxygenation in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 45-50
[2] Zhao-guo Li . A discussion of English translation of 1995 and 1997 Chinese National Standards of Traditional Chinese Medical Terminologies for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1090-1096
[3] Se-Der Wu, Jen-Tzer Gau, Yuh-Hai Wang. Ryodoraku as a tool monitoring the effects of walking exercise. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(12): 1319-1325
[4] Wen-juan Wang, Zhi-kui Wu, Xin-hua Zhang, Yong-mei Liu, Su-ping Fang, Rong-xin Wang, Chong Zhang, Tian-hong Zhou, Ping-ping Lu, Rui-gui Luo. Clinical observation of Yisui Shengxue Granule in treating 25 patients with hemoglobin H disease. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(2): 153-156
[5] Ng Cui-shan, Wang Shan-ping, Cheong Jun-long, Wu Yu-dan, Jia Yong-liang, Leung Siu-wai. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing Chinese patent medicines Compound Danshen Dripping Pills and Di’ao Xinxuekang in treating angina pectoris. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(1): 25-34
[6] Kwan Leung Chia. Symptomatic Tarlov cyst and electroacupuncture: More studies required. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(1): 58-60
[7] Ya Yuwen, Yu-qi Liu, Yan-ping Wang, Jin-gang Dai, Da-sheng Liu, Yue-xi Wang, Xue-jie Han. The add-on effect of a Chinese herbal formula for patients with resistant hypertension: Study protocol for a pilot cohort study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(2): 122-128
[8] Yong-qing Cao, Chun-mei He, Jin-gen Lu. Effects of Wenshen Jianpi Recipe on chronic wound healing in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2005, 3(3): 220-223
[9] Jian-cheng He, Can-xing Yuan, Hong-chang Wei, Ru-xing Chen. Effect of Chinese and western medicine integration on spinning behavior of rats with Parkinson disease. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2003, 1(4): 293-295
[10] Jian-xiong Zhao, Wei-dong Cheng, Rui-feng Xu, Yuan-qing Li. Effects of Fuzheng Yiliu Granule-medicated serum on apoptosis of liver cancer cells from mice and its mechanism. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2005, 3(4): 278-281