Acupuncture Side Effects and Risks

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners, requiring that needles be manufactured and labeled according to certain standards. For example, the FDA requires that needles be sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.

Relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments. Practitioners should use a new set of disposable needles taken from a sealed package for each patient and should swab treatment sites with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting needles. Dr. Rosquist follows this procedure and adheres to the "Clean Needle Techinque" that is endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control. Using this procedure minimizes and risk of infection or transmission of disease which is virtually unheard of in acupuncture practice. When not delivered properly, acupuncture can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs.