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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Drivers warned of acupuncture risk
Acupuncture
Acupuncture can cause drowsiness
Motorists should take care if driving after acupuncture, warn doctors.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, said patients can become drowsy after treatment.

She said patients in this state should not then drive home.

And she called upon acupuncturists to warn their clients of the dangers before sessions so they can ensure they have transport to get them home safely.

Drowsiness

"I want acupuncturists to warn people and then if it does cause drowsiness they can get someone else to bring them home.

"We have to find ways of getting information to patients that will help them make decisions that are informed."

She said the fact that acupuncture produces drowsiness could often be a positive side effect for patients, many of whom were suffering from painful conditions that had left them unable to relax and sleep.


I want acupuncturists to warn people and then if it does cause drowsiness they can get someone else to bring them home

Dr Vivienne Nathanson

A report in 2000 by the BMA called for access to acupuncture for NHS patients to be widened.

The association called for nation-wide guidelines on use of the treatment following research which suggests it is successful in easing back and back and dental pain, migraine, nausea and vomiting.

Rare

Dr Mike Cummings, medical advisor for the British Medical Acupuncture Society, said that they currently advise practioners to inform clients of possible drowsiness.

But he said that although this could occur that it was a very rare side effect.

"The most reliable evidence suggests it is quite uncommon and affects about 1% of patients.

"And if it is going to occur it is usually only occurs in the first few sessions.

"It is very unusual that somebody would be so drowsy that they would be unable to drive home safely," he said.

See also:

16 Apr 02 | Health
18 Nov 01 | Health
24 Jul 02 | England
19 Oct 01 | Health
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