Are essential oils used for aroma therapy considered a medication by TJC? An FAQ in the Medication Management chapter provides what we view as an unusual response relative to the question.
Are Essential Oils A Medication?
TJC states that the FDA relies on the “intended use” to determine if it is a medication. For example, the FDA considers it a drug if the intended purpose is therapeutic. Our understanding of the FDA’s position is that if the manufacturer wants to market and label a product for specific therapeutic purposes, then it is a drug.
The FAQ implies the following. If the hospital or treatment team intends to use an essential oil not considered a drug by the FDA, for therapeutic purposes, then it is a drug. Given the new pain management standards which encourage the use of non-pharmacologic treatment for pain, this in important. In fact, some organizations use aroma therapy as one approach to their pain management care plans. But if TJC considers it a drug, it is no longer non pharmacologic, and it requires a physician order.
Hopefully there will be additional details forthcoming from TJC on this issue.
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