It is important to remember that all biologically active agents carry a slight risk, and alternative medications have not been systematically studied or approved by the FDA. This does not mean that they are ineffective; instead it means that we lack information to support or refute the validity of therapeutic claims. Indeed, many of the standard agents that have been subjected to the scientific method and determined to be effective had their basis in herbal remedies (e.g., morphine and aspirin). Kava is an alternative medication that is widely accepted as effective in the treatment of anxiety and may be useful in patients with anxiety-amplified pain. Other agents, such as soy and glucos-amine sulfate, are under investigation.
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