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American College of Physicians Guidelines for Alternative Therapies

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American College of Physicians Guidelines for Alternative Therapies

Guideline development necessitates an exhaustive evaluation of the evidence. This process includes recognizing promising research, creating a framework to assess its quality, and making recommendations to optimize patient care.

Standard medical care refers to treatments that have been certified as being appropriate by medical experts as effective treatments for certain diseases or conditions and which are widely utilized by healthcare professionals. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to a collection of practices, products or treatments not part of standard medical practice but may still be beneficial in treating some ailments.

CAM can include herbal remedies, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and massage as well as other noninvasive or less invasive techniques. It may also involve lifestyle modifications like eating healthier and exercising regularly.

These guidelines are meant to assist physicians in deciding if a patient should receive CAM therapy. Furthermore, they aim to assist state medical boards with educating and regulating physicians who work within practices offering both conventional and CAM therapies, as well as those who co-manage patients with licensed or otherwise state-regulated CAM providers.

The American College of Physicians created this guideline as part of their overall guideline development process. It adheres to ACP’s methods and criteria for creating guidelines, which are published in a scientific journal. This process considers evidence strength, certainty in values and preferences, cost-benefit balance and other relevant factors.

Experts were recruited from a range of backgrounds. Some had extensive expertise with CAM; others had knowledge about health care topics relevant to this guideline, such as pain management or opioid prescribing. Representatives from primary care professional societies, state agencies, CDC, and other organizations that provide healthcare services to people living with chronic or severe illnesses were included.

They reviewed all evidence and rated each draft recommendation statement according to its balance of benefits and harms, evidence strength, certainty of values and preferences, cost, rationale, importance, clarity, and ease of implementation. CDC then requested their individual opinions about these draft recommendations as well as the evidence supporting them.

CDC identified the most qualified experts from various backgrounds to serve as advisors on this CAM guideline, including those with expertise in cancer treatments, chronic pain treatments and other health care conditions. They were selected based on their academic/clinical training, clinical experience and demonstrated expertise within their fields. All experts completed a conflict of interest disclosure form which revealed any activities which could directly or predictably influence the recommendations they made for this guideline; these activities would prevent them from serving as an expert if discovered.

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