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1.  537 Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines by Children Suffering from Asthma at Mangalore, India 
Patients with chronic diseases including asthma, have a greater tendency to use Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as they are more concerned about the adverse effects of conventional medicine, dissatisfaction with their medical care, as well as a subjective feeling of health improvement with use of CAM. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of the use of CAM, reasons for use of CAM, and sources of information about CAM among paediatric asthmatic patients in outpatient department and urban health centre.
Following approval from Institutional Ethics committee, the data for this cross-sectional study was collected from parents of 125 paediatric patients diagnosed with asthma for more than a year waiting to see the doctor in the outpatient clinic in teaching hospitals and urban health centre of Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India during the period from March 2010 to September 2010. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire in Kannada was distributed to the parents, the purpose of the study was explained, assurance of anonymity was conveyed, and emphasized that the patient's decision to complete or decline to complete the survey would not affect his/her healthcare quality in any way. Written informed consent was obtained from the participants.
Data regarding 125 children with a mean age of 9.06 years were collected, the majority were male (n = 76, 60.8%). The prevalence of ever-CAM use was 72.8% (n = 91). Sixty-three males (69.2%) used CAM compared to 28 females (30.8%) (P < 0.001). Fifty-six (61.5%) CAM users had not discussed use of CAM with their doctors. The main reason of non-disclosure was "the doctor never asked" (n = 59, 64.8%), and the main sources of information about CAM were family and relatives (n = 45, 49.4%). The majority of asthmatic patients used Ayurvedic medicines and mixtures (n = 35, 38.5%), foods (n = 18, 19.7%) and herbs (n = 16, 17.6%). About 76% (n = 69) of asthmatic patients perceived CAM as good for their disease management.
Use of CAM among asthmatic patients is relatively high, particularly among females. The majority of asthmatic patients valued the use of CAM. Health education of asthmatic patients about CAM is highly recommended.
PMCID: PMC3513180
2.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria 
The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) by cancer patients is very common and varies between populations. The referenced English literature has no local study from Africa on this subject. This study was conducted to define the prevalence, pattern of use, and factors influencing the use of CAM by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu (UNTH-E), Nigeria
Face-to-face interviews using semi-structured questionnaire were used to determine the use of CAM by cancer patients. All consenting cancer patients were interviewed as they presented at the core surgical units of the UNTH- E, from June 2003 to September 2005.
160 patients were interviewed; 68 (42.5%) were males and 94 (57.5%) were females. Ages ranged from 13–86 years. Breast, urogenital system, gastrointestinal system, and soft tissue cancers predominated. One hundred and four patients (65.0%) have used CAM at some time during their current cancer illness; 56 (35.0%) patients have not used any form of CAM. There were more females than males among the non-CAM users. The use of CAM was not affected by age, marital status, level of education, religious affiliation, or socioeconomic status. The most frequently used CAMs were herbs (51.9%), faith/prayer healing (49.4%), aloe vera (23.1%), Forever Living Products (16.3%), medicinal tea (14.4%), and Blackstone (12.5%). Over 23% of those who used CAM were satisfied, but 68.3% were disappointed. Most users (67.3%) did not see any benefit from the CAM, but 25% could describe some specific benefits. More than 21% of users reported various unwanted effects. While 86.5% of CAM users will use orthodox medicine instead of CAM in the future, 9.6% will use the two together to help each other. Most users (79.8%) will not repeat CAM or recommend its use for cancer. The majority of patients (55.8%) did not mention their use of CAM to their doctors – mostly because the doctor did not ask.
CAM use is common among cancer patients in Nigeria. Most users do not obtain the expected benefits, and adverse events are not uncommon. Every clinician in the field of oncology should ask his/her patients about the use of CAM; this knowledge will enable them to better counsel the patients.
PMCID: PMC2034592  PMID: 17850665
3.  Academic doctors' views of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and its role within the NHS: an exploratory qualitative study 
There has been a marked increase in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the UK population in recent years. Surveys of doctors' perspectives on CAM have identified a variety of views and potential information needs. While these are useful for describing the proportions of doctors who hold particular attitudes towards CAM, they are less helpful for understanding why. In addition, while the views of non-academic doctors have begun to be studied, the perspective and rationales of academic doctors remains under-researched. It seems important to investigate the views of those with a research-orientation, given the emphasis on the need for more scientific evidence in recent debates on CAM.
This exploratory study used qualitative methods to explore academic doctors' views of CAM and the rationales they provided for their views. A purposeful sampling strategy was used to identify doctors with a dual clinical and academic role in the Bristol area, with an anticipated variety of views on CAM. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine doctors. The data were analysed thematically, drawing on the Framework Approach.
The doctors expressed a spectrum of views on CAM, falling into three broad groups: the 'enthusiasts', the 'sceptics' and the 'undecided'. Scepticism or uncertainty about the value of CAM was prominent, except among those practising a form of CAM. A variety of rationales underpinned their perspectives on CAM, a key recurring rationale being their perspective on the scientific evidence base. The main themes arising included: the role of doctors' professional experiences of conventional medicine and CAM in shaping their attitudes towards CAM, doctor-patient communication about CAM and patient disclosure, whether there is a need for training and education in CAM for doctors, a hierarchy of acceptability of CAM and the nature of evidence; and the role of CAM within the NHS.
Despite the caution or scepticism towards CAM expressed by doctors in this study, more open doctor-patient communication about CAM may enable doctors' potential concerns about CAM to be addressed, or at least enhance their knowledge of what treatments or therapies their patients are using. Offering CAM to patients may serve to enhance patients' treatment choices and even increase doctors' fulfilment in their practice. However, given the recurring concerns about lack of scientific evidence expressed by the doctors in this study, perceptions of the evidence base may remain a significant barrier to greater integration of CAM within the NHS.
PMCID: PMC1896178  PMID: 17537248
4.  Characteristics of users and implications for the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Ghanaian cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy: a cross- sectional study 
There is widespread use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Ghana, driven by cultural consideration and paradigm to disease causation. Whether there is concurrent use of conventional medicine and CAM in cancer patients is unknown. This study investigates the prevalence, pattern and predictors of CAM use in cancer patients. Overlapping toxicity, sources of information, and whether users inform their doctor about CAM use is examined.
Cross-sectional study using a questionnaire administered to cancer patients, who were receiving radiotherapy and or chemotherapy or had recently completed treatment at a single institution was used.
Ninety eight patients participated in the study with a mean age of 55.5 (18–89), made up of 51% females. Married individuals formed 56% of the respondents, whilst 49% had either secondary or tertiary education. Head and neck cancer patients were 15.3%, breast (21.4%), abdomen/pelvic cancers constituted (52%).Seventy seven (78.6%) patients received radiotherapy only, 16.3% received radiation and chemotherapy and 5.3% had chemotherapy only.
Ninety five patients were diagnosed of cancer within the past 24 months,73.5% were CAM users as follows; massage(66.3%), herbal(59.2%), mega vitamins(55.1%), Chinese medicine(53.1%),and prayer(42.9%). Sixty eight percent were treated with curative intent. Overlapping toxicity was reported. Majority (83.3%) of users had not informed their doctor about CAM use.
On univariate analysis, female (p=0.004) and palliative patients, p=0.032 were more likely to be CAM users. Multivariate analysis identified female (p<0.01), as significant for use, whilst head and neck site was significant for non use (p<0.028). Young, married and highly educated individuals are more likely to use CAM.
Friends and Media are the main sources of information on CAM. There was increase in CAM use after the diagnosis of cancer mainly for Chinese Medicine and vitamins.
There is high CAM usage among Cancer patients, comparable to use in the general population, there is concurrent use of CAM and conventional medicine with reported overlapping toxicity but without informing Oncologist about use. Women and palliative patients are more likely to use CAM. Doctor patient communication on herbal-radiotherapy and drug treatment interaction needs to be strengthened. Standardization and regulation of CAM use is paramount.
PMCID: PMC3565863  PMID: 23331546
Complementary; Alternative; Medicine; Radiotherapy; Chemotherapy; Cancer; Traditional; User-characteristics; Toxicity
5.  Attitudes Toward Antiretroviral Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chinese HIV-Infected Patients 
HIV has become a significant health issue in China, and an increasing number of HIV-infected individuals are in need of care. Current reports confirm more than 230,000 cases of HIV infection and estimate that approximately 700,000 people are now infected with HIV, although approximately 70% of these individuals do not realize they are infected (Gill & Okie, 2007).
China's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, Four Frees and One Care, began in 2003, and ART treatment is now widely available in China (Zhang et al., 2007). Under this program, the following services are available to eligible citizens: (a) free ART for all AIDS patients in financial difficulty, (b) free schooling for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS patients, (c) free counseling and prevention measures to prevent mother-to-child-transmission for HIV-infected pregnant women, and (d) free HIV antibody testing and counseling, provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “One Care” means providing care to AIDS patients and their families (Zhang, Pan, Yu, Wen, & Zhao, 2005). Prior to 2003, only a few people in China had access to ART, and clinical expertise in HIV medicine was limited to the major centers in a few eastern cities (Zhang et al., 2007). When ART is the dominant method of treatment, however, its use is complicated by the presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which has remained a substitute and supplement for conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003), even after ART became available (Josephs, Fleishman, Gaist, & Gebo, 2007).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Commonly, CAM includes a wide range of practices that do not fit within the dominant allopathic model of health care (Bishop, Yardley, & Lewith, 2007), including but not limited to herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, and diet-based therapies (Bratman & Steven, 1997). TCM has been used in Chinese society for more than 5,000 years. In the TCM approach, the body is recognized and treated as a whole entity, and diseases are identified as conditions caused by internal imbalances. The role of doctors is to identify imbalances and then correct them; the body is then expected to be able to heal itself (Tsao, Dobalian, Myers, & Zeltzer, 2005). The balancing factors of the yin and yang, or of the cold and hot forces, govern health and modulate some Chinese eating and pain management practices (Wong-Kim & Merighi, 2007). The integration of ART and CAM therefore has important implications in health outcomes, especially in China where the use of CAM is widespread.
Three types of treatment systems are practiced in Chinese society: (a) allopathic Western medicine offered by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals; (b) Buyao, which is over-the-counter popular medicine and includes teas, soups, tablets, herbal preparations, and tonics, which are similar to herb supplements used in some Western countries; and (c) TCM or Zhongyi, provided by trained Chinese herbalists, which incorporates a wide range of theories, therapies, and practices, some of which are medicinal, some physical, and some supernatural (Ma et al., 2008). Many Chinese people use all three types of treatment simultaneously.
In the West, the use of CAM is widespread among HIV-infected individuals. From 1980 to 1996, 27% to 100% of HIV-infected patients used CAM (Ernst, 1997), and the rates of CAM remained steady when compared with the era before highly active ART (Josephs et al., 2007). Some people living with HIV (PLWH) used CAM to replace the prescribed ART treatment regimen (Owen-Smith, Diclemente, & Wingood, 2007), while others used it as a complement to conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003).
A variety of factors influence an individual's decision to use CAM. In Western countries, women who were more educated and who had lived longer with HIV were more likely to use CAM (Owen-Smith et al., 2007). Pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with the use of unlicensed or illicit underground drugs that held a potential for harm (Tsao et al., 2005). Overall, the most common source of information about CAM was from patients' friends (Wiwanitkit, 2003). Generally, CAM users perceived complementary therapies as useful, although there is no evidence to suggest that these treatments are particularly effective. CAM is generally perceived as “safe,” despite evidence of harmful interactions between some herbal medicines and medical treatments and the evidence of associated risks (Ma et al., 2007). Specifically, recent studies have shown that herbal medicines can interact with ART in such a way as to contribute to treatment failure (Ma et al., 2007). Physicians around the world, however, do not routinely discuss CAM therapies with PLWH, despite knowing that CAM therapies are widely used (Ma et al., 2008; Hsiao et al., 2003).
Studies have examined PLWH attitudes toward ART and CAM in different countries (Littlewood & Vanable, 2008). One study described nurses in Uganda using a traditional, nurse-prepared ointment on PLWH as an alternative medication for skin problems because they “know it works” (Hardon et al., 2008). CAM has also been used to treat the psychological and physical effects of illness and the side effects of ART (Kaufman & Gregory, 2007). Studies show, however, that many PLWH do not report CAM use to their medical providers (Hsiao et al., 2003). To date, there has been little research on CAM use in the Chinese PLWH population.
This qualitative study explored issues related to positive and negative attitudes toward both ART and CAM in Chinese PLWH in Beijing, China. The study was part of a larger project examining behavioral interventions meant to enhance ART adherence in PLWH in China (Chen et al., 2007; Starks et al., 2008). Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were used to explore PLWHA attitudes, experiences, and perceptions about ART and CAM.
PMCID: PMC2684986  PMID: 19427598
6.  Complementary and alternative medicine use by visitors to rural Japanese family medicine clinics: results from the international complementary and alternative medicine survey 
There is growing interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) throughout the world, however previous research done in Japan has focused primarily on CAM use in major cities. The purpose of this study was to develop and distribute a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q) to assess the use of CAM among people who visit rural Japanese family medicine clinics.
Using a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q), a cross-sectional survey was conducted in three rural family medicine clinics. All patients and those accompanying patients who met inclusion criteria were eligible to participate. Data were entered into SPSS Statistics and analyzed for use by age, gender, and location.
Of the 519 respondents who participated in the project, 415 participants reported CAM use in the past 12 months (80.0%). When prayer is excluded, the prevalence of CAM use drops to 77.3% in the past year, or 403 respondents. The most common forms of CAM used by respondents were pain relief pads (n = 170, 32.8%), herbal medicines/supplements (n = 167, 32.2%), and massage by self or family (n = 166, 32.0%). Female respondents, individuals with higher levels of education, and those with poorer overall health status were more likely to use CAM than respondents without these characteristics. Only 22.8% of CAM therapies used were reported to physicians by survey participants.
These data indicate that CAM use in rural Japan is common. The results are consistent with previous studies that show that Japanese individuals are more interested in forms of CAM such as pain relief pads and massage, than in mind-body forms of CAM like relaxation and meditation. Due to the high utilization of certain CAM practices, and given that most CAM users do not disclose their CAM use to their doctors, we conclude that physicians in rural Japan would benefit by asking about CAM use during patient interviews, and by familiarizing themselves with the potential benefits and risks of commonly used CAM modalities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-360) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4192731  PMID: 25256591
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Integrative medicine; Primary care, Family medicine; Japan, International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q)
7.  Patterns and determinants of the use of complementary and alternative medicine: a cross-sectional study of hypertensive patients in Ghana 
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread and high utilization rates are associated with people who have chronic conditions like hypertension which management requires adherence to conventional treatment. Often however, the use of alternative medicines has been linked to negative health outcomes. The purpose of the study therefore was to evaluate the pattern, determinants and the association between CAM use and the adherence behaviour of hypertensive patients in Ghana.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using 400 hypertensive patients attending Korle-bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals in Ghana from May to July, 2012. Information was gathered on the socio-demographic characteristics of patients, CAM use, and adherence using the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS).
Out of the 400 study participants, 78 (19.5%) reported using CAM with the majority (65.38%) utilizing biological based therapies. About 70% of CAM users had not disclosed their CAM use to their healthcare professionals citing fear and the lack of inquiry by these health professionals as the main reasons for non-disclosure. Males were 2.86 more likely to use CAM than females [odds ratio (OR) = 2.86 (95% CI 1.48 – 5.52), p = 0.002]. Participants who could not afford their medications had 3.85 times likelihood of CAM use than those who could afford their medicines [OR = 3.85 (1.15 – 12.5), p = 0.029]. In addition, a significant relationship between CAM use and experiences of anti-hypertensive side effects was observed, X2 = 25.378, p < 0.0001. CAM users were 2.22 times more likely to be non-adherent than participants who did not use CAM [OR = 2.22 (0.70 – 7.14), p = 0.176].
Hypertensive patients in Ghana have shown utilization for CAM. It is important that healthcare providers understand the patterns and determinants of CAM use among their patients. Intervention programmes can then be incorporated to enhance the desired health outcomes of patients.
PMCID: PMC3936816  PMID: 24495363
Medication adherence; Traditional medicine; Non-adherence; Side effects; Medication affordability
8.  Complementary and Alternative Medication Use and Adherence to Inhaled Corticosteroid Among Inner-city Asthmatics 
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are used widely by patients with chronic diseases such as asthma. However, it is unclear whether use of CAM is associated with decreased adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), a key component of asthma management.
We surveyed 326 adults with persistent asthma receiving care at two inner-city outpatient clinics. Patients were asked about CAM use for treatment of asthma in the prior six months. Medication adherence was assessed using the Medication Adherence Report Scale, a validated self-report measure. Univariate and multiple regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between CAM use, adherence to ICS, and medication and disease beliefs.
Overall, 25% (95% CI: 20–30%) of patients reported CAM use. Of those who used CAM, 39% (95% CI: 19–59%) discussed it with their physician, and 21% (95% CI: 12–31%) used CAM in place of prescribed asthma therapy. Univariate analyses showed that CAM use was associated with decreased ICS adherence and increased asthma morbidity. In multivariable analysis, CAM use was associated with lower ICS adherence (odds ratio [OR]: 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.9) after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, years since diagnosis, language, and co-morbidities. CAM users were also more likely to worry about side effects of ICS (p=0.01).
CAM use was associated with decreased ICS adherence among inner-city asthmatics. Medication beliefs such as worry about ICS side effects may in part mediate this relationship. CAM use may be a marker for decreased adherence to ICS, particularly among patients with poor asthma control.
PMCID: PMC2946361  PMID: 20306816
9.  The prevalence, patterns of usage and people's attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among the Indian community in Chatsworth, South Africa 
The purpose of this study was to determine, among the Indian community of Chatsworth, South Africa, the prevalence and utilisation patterns of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), attitudes associated with CAM use and communication patterns of CAM users with their primary care doctors.
Face-to-face structured interviews were conducted in Chatsworth, a suburb of Durban in which South Africans of Indian origin predominantly reside. Participants were 200 randomly selected adult English-speaking Indian residents.
The prevalence of CAM usage for period 2000/2001 was 38.5% (95% confidence interval 31.7% to 45.6%). Spiritual healing and herbal/natural medicines, including vitamins were the most common types of CAM used, accounting for 42.8% and 48.1% respectively of overall CAM usage. People used CAM to treat conditions including diabetes mellitus, headaches, arthritis and joint pains, stress, skin disorders, backaches, hypertension and nasal disorders. Half of the CAM users used allopathic medicines concurrently. The cost of CAM utilization over this 1-year period, incurred by 80.5% of users for the duration of therapy for their most troublesome condition was below R500 (approximately US$50). Age, sex, marital status, religion, level of education and income were shown not to influence the use of CAM. Greater than half (51.9%) of CAM users did so either upon the advice of someone they knew, or after noticing a CAM advertisement in the local press. Seventy-nine percent of CAM users indicated that they had positive outcomes with their treatments. Fifty four percent of CAM users (excluding those using spiritual healing only) failed to inform their doctors that they used CAM. The main reason given by half of this group was that informing their doctors did not seem necessary.
The prevalence of CAM in Chatsworth is similar to findings in other parts of the world. Although CAM was used to treat many different ailments, this practice could not be attributed to any particular demographic profile. The majority of CAM users were satisfied with the effects of CAM. Findings support a need for greater integration of allopathic medicine and CAM, as well as improved communication between patients and caregivers regarding CAM usage.
PMCID: PMC356921  PMID: 15018622
10.  Prayer-for-health and complementary alternative medicine use among Malaysian breast cancer patients during chemotherapy 
The inclusion of prayer-for-health (PFH) in the definition of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted in higher levels of CAM use. The objective of this study was to assess PFH and CAM use among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
A cross-sectional study was performed at two chemotherapy providers. Patients were questioned about use of three categories of CAM, mind-body practices (MBPs), natural products (NPs) and traditional medicine (TM). PFH was also examined separately from CAM to better characterise the patterns of CAM and PFH used during chemotherapy.
A total of 546 eligible patients participated in the study; 70.7% (n = 386) reported using some form of CAM, and 29.3% (n = 160) were non-CAM users. When PFH was excluded as a CAM, fewer patients reported the use of CAM (66.1%; n = 361). The total number of patients who used MBPs decreased from 342 to 183. The most common CAM use category was NPs (82.8%), followed by MBPs (50.7%), and TM (35.7%). CAM users were more likely to have a tertiary education (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.15–3.89 vs. primary/lower), have household incomes > RM 3,000 (≈944 USD) per month (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.40–3.84 vs. ≤RM 3,000 (≈944 USD)), and have advanced cancer (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.18–2.59 vs. early stage cancer), compared with non-CAM users. The CAM users were less likely to have their chemotherapy on schedule (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10–0.58 vs. chemotherapy postponed) than non-CAM users. Most MBPs were perceived to be more helpful by their users, compared with the users of NPs and TM.
CAM use was prevalent among breast cancer patients. Excluding PFH from the definition of CAM reduced the prevalence of overall CAM use. Overall, CAM use was associated with higher education levels and household incomes, advanced cancer and lower chemotherapy schedule compliance. Many patients perceived MBP to be beneficial for improving overall well-being during chemotherapy. These findings, while preliminary, clearly indicate the differences in CAM use when PFH is included in, and excluded from, the definition of CAM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-425) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4230750  PMID: 25358688
Complementary alternative therapy; Prayer for health; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy
11.  Self-care and adherence to medication: a survey in the hypertension outpatient clinic 
Self-care practices for patients with hypertension include adherence to medication, use of blood pressure self-monitoring and use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) The prevalence of CAM use and blood pressure self-monitoring have not been described in a UK secondary care population of patients with hypertension and their impact on adherence to medication has not been described. Adherence to medication is important for blood pressure control, but poor adherence is common. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of self-care behaviours in patients attending a secondary care hypertension clinic.
Cross-sectional questionnaire survey. 196 patients attending a secondary care hypertension clinic in a teaching hospital serving a multiethnic population, Birmingham, UK. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of use of CAM, home monitors, adherence to anti-hypertensive medication.
CAM use in previous 12 months was reported by 66 (43.1%) respondents. CAM users did not differ statistically from non-CAM users by age, gender, marital status or education. Vitamins, prayer a dietary supplements were the most commonly used CAM. Nine (12.7%) women reported using herbal CAM compared to one man (1.2%), (p = 0.006). Ten (6.7%) respondents reported ever being asked by a doctor about CAM use. Perfect adherence to anti-hypertensive medication was reported by 26 (44.8%) CAM-users and 46 (60.5%) non-CAM users (p = 0.07). Being female and a CAM user was significantly associated with imperfect adherence to anti-hypertensive medication. Older and white British respondents were significantly more likely to report perfect adherence. Blood pressure monitors were used by 67 (43.8%) respondents, which was not associated with gender, CAM use or adherence to medication.
Hypertensive patients use a variety of self-care methods, including CAM, home blood pressure monitors, and adherence to prescribed medication. This study found the prevalence of CAM use in hypertensive patients was higher than in the UK population. It is important to acknowledge the self-care behaviour of hypertensive patients, in order to assess potential harm, and encourage effective methods of self-care.
PMCID: PMC2259297  PMID: 18261219
12.  Complementary alternative medicine use among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the primary care setting: a cross-sectional study in Malaysia 
Limited study on the use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) among patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), particularly in primary -care settings. This study seeks to understand the prevalence, types, expenditures, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of CAM use among patients with DM visiting outpatient primary care clinics.
This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study of 240 diabetic patients. CAM is defined as a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional Western medicine. Data analysis was done using SPSS v. 19 and multiple logistic regressions were used to identify predictors of CAM use.
The prevalence of CAM use was 62.5 percent. Female were 1.8 times more likely than male in using CAM. Malays (75%) were the most frequent users, followed Indians (18%) and Chinese (6%). Biological therapy (50.0%) were the most widely used, followed by manipulative-body based systems (9.2%), energy system (8.8%), alternative medicine systems (4.6%) and mind-body system (1.7%). In biological therapy, a total of 30.4 percent, 24.2 percent, 13.3 percent, and 7.9 percent of diabetic patients consumed bitter gourd (Momordica Charantia), followed by Misai Kucing (Orthosiphon Stamineus Benth), garlic (Allium Sativum), and Sabah snake grass (Clinacanthus Nutans Lindau) respectively. The mean of the expenditure on CAM usage was RM 52.8 ± 101.9 (US $16.9 ± 32.5) per month. According to multiple logistic regression analyses, being Muslim (OR 5.258, 95 percent CI 2.952-9.368) had significant positive association with CAM use.
The prevalence of CAM use was high among diabetics. Islam faith is predictor for CAM use among Type 2 DM patients. The most-common herbs used were bitter gourd (Momordica Charantia) and Misai Kucing (Orthosiphon Stamineus, Benth). Further studies on the anti-glycemic activity of the isolated compound may be needed in the future.
PMCID: PMC3701537  PMID: 23802882
Complementary alternative medicine; Diabetes mellitus; Primary care; Malaysia; Prevalence
13.  Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use amongst outpatients in Tokyo, Japan 
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been increasing rapidly throughout the world during the past decade. The use of CAM in the general Japanese population has been previously reported to be as high as 76%. This study aims to investigate the patterns of CAM use, perceived effectiveness and disclosure of CAM use to orthodox medical practitioners amongst patients attending typical primary and secondary care clinics in a busy district general hospital in Tokyo, Japan.
The authors analysed data collected during March 2002 on patients attending general outpatient clinics held at Shiseikai Daini Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Data was collected by use of self-completed questionnaires distributed to patients in the outpatient clinics waiting area. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square tests of independence.
515 adults were approached to participate in this study and the overall response rate was 96% (n = 496). 50% of the patients were using or have used at least 1 CAM therapy within the last 12 months. The 5 most commonly used therapies were massage (n = 106, 43%), vitamins (n = 85, 35%), health foods including dietary supplements (n = 56, 23%), acupressure (n = 51, 21%) and kampo (n = 46, 19%). The majority of CAM users (75%, n = 145) found their CAM treatment to be effective (95% CI = 68–81%). Patients who were more likely to use CAM were females (p = 0.003) and those with a high number of medical conditions (p = < 0.0001). Only a small proportion of patients reported their CAM use to their physician (42%, n = 74). There was no significant difference in CAM use for the different age groups (p = 0.85), education level (p = 0.30) and financial status (p = 0.82).
Patterns of CAM usage in the sample surveyed was high (50%). Despite this high prevalence rate and presumed acceptance of CAM in Japan, the reporting of CAM use by patients to their physicians was low (42%). It is therefore important that physicians are aware of the possibility that their patients may be using CAM and also increase their knowledge and understanding of these treatments.
PMCID: PMC2375857  PMID: 18433476
14.  Patient-Physician Communication About Complementary and Alternative Medicine in a Radiation Oncology Setting 
Despite the extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients, patient-physician communication regarding CAM therapies remains limited. This study quantified the extent of patient-physician communication about CAM and identified factors associated with its discussion in radiation therapy (RT) settings.
Methods and Materials
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 305 RT patients at an urban academic cancer center. Patients with different cancer types were recruited in their last week of RT. Participants self-reported their demographic characteristics, health status, CAM use, patient-physician communication regarding CAM, and rationale for/against discussing CAM therapies with physicians. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify relationships between demographic/clinical variables and patients’ discussion of CAM with radiation oncologists.
Among the 305 participants, 133 (43.6%) reported using CAM, and only 37 (12.1%) reported discussing CAM therapies with their radiation oncologists. In multivariate analyses, female patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21-0.98) and patients with full-time employment (AOR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12-0.81) were less likely to discuss CAM with their radiation oncologists. CAM users (AOR 4.28, 95% CI 1.93-9.53) were more likely to discuss CAM with their radiation oncologists than were non-CAM users.
Despite the common use of CAM among oncology patients, discussions regarding these treatments occur rarely in the RT setting, particularly among female and full-time employed patients. Clinicians and patients should incorporate discussions of CAM to guide its appropriate use and to maximize possible benefit while minimizing potential harm.
PMCID: PMC3677204  PMID: 23040545
15.  Prevalence and determinants of complementary and alternative medicine use among infertile patients in Lebanon: a cross sectional study 
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used for the treatment of infertility. While the Middle East and North Africa region has been shown to house one of the fastest growing markets of CAM products in the world, research describing the use of CAM therapies among Middle-Eastern infertile patients is minimal. The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence, characteristics and determinants of CAM use among infertile patients in Lebanon.
A cross sectional survey design was used to carry out face-to-face interviews with 213 consecutive patients attending the Assisted Reproductive Unit at a major academic medical center in Beirut. The questionnaire comprised three sections: socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, infertility-related aspects and information on CAM use. The main outcome measure was the use of CAM modalities for infertility treatment. Determinants of CAM use were assessed through the logistic regression method.
Overall, 41% of interviewed patients reported using a CAM modality at least once for their infertility. There was a differential by gender in the most commonly used CAM therapies; where males mostly used functional foods (e.g. honey & nuts) (82.9%) while females mostly relied on spiritual healing/prayer (56.5%). Factors associated with CAM use were higher household income (OR: 0.305, 95% CI: 0.132–0.703) and sex, with females using less CAM than males (OR: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.051–0.278). The older patients were diagnosed with infertility, the lower the odds of CAM use (p for trend <0.05). Almost half of the participants (48%) were advised on CAM use by their friends, and only 13% reported CAM use to their physician.
The considerably high use of CAM modalities among Lebanese infertile patients, added to a poor CAM use disclosure to physicians, underscore the need to integrate CAM into the education and training of health professionals, as well as enhance infertile patients' awareness on safe use of CAM products.
PMCID: PMC3512516  PMID: 22901284
Complementary and alternative medicine; Infertility; Lebanon
16.  Pediatricians' attitudes, experience and referral patterns regarding complementary/alternative medicine: a national survey 
To assess pediatricians' attitudes toward & practice of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) including their knowledge, experience, & referral patterns for CAM therapies.
An anonymous, self-report, 27-item questionnaire was mailed nationally to fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics in July 2004.
648 of 3500 pediatricians' surveyed responded (18%).
The median age ranged from 46–59 yrs; 52% female, 81% Caucasian, 71% generalists, & 85% trained in the US. Over 96% of pediatricians' responding believed their patients were using CAM. Discussions of CAM use were initiated by the family (70%) & only 37% of pediatricians asked about CAM use as part of routine medical history. Majority (84%) said more CME courses should be offered on CAM and 71% said they would consider referring patients to CAM practitioners. Medical conditions referred for CAM included; chronic problems (headaches, pain management, asthma, backaches) (86%), diseases with no known cure (55.5%) or failure of conventional therapies (56%), behavioral problems (49%), & psychiatric disorders (47%). American born, US medical school graduates, general pediatricians, & pediatricians who ask/talk about CAM were most likely to believe their patients used CAM (P < 0.01).
Pediatricians' have a positive attitude towards CAM. Majority believe that their patients are using CAM, that asking about CAM should be part of routine medical history, would consider referring to a CAM practitioner and want more education on CAM.
PMCID: PMC1894987  PMID: 17547752
17.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine to Conventional Medical Providers: Variation by Race/Ethnicity and Type of CAM 
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often used alongside conventional medical care, yet fewer than half of patients disclose CAM use to medical doctors. CAM disclosure is particularly low among racial/ethnic minorities, but reasons for differences, such as type of CAM used or quality of conventional healthcare, have not been explored.
We tested the hypotheses that disclosure of CAM use to medical doctors is higher for provider-based CAM and among non-Hispanic whites, and that access to and quality of conventional medical care account for racial/ethnic differences in CAM disclosure.
Bivariate and multiple variable analyses of the 2002 National Health Interview Survey and 2001 Health Care Quality Survey were performed.
Disclosure of CAM use to medical providers was higher for provider-based than self-care CAM. Disclosure of any CAM was associated with access to and quality of conventional care and higher among non-Latino whites relative to minorities. Having a regular doctor and quality patient–provider relationship mitigated racial/ethnic differences in CAM disclosure.
Insufficient disclosure of CAM use to conventional providers, particularly for self-care practices and among minority populations, represents a serious challenge in medical encounter communications. Efforts to improve disclosure of CAM use should be aimed at improving consistency of care and patient–physician communication across racial/ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC2709648  PMID: 19024232
complementary and alternative medicine; race/ethnicity; communication; access; quality of care
18.  Cancer Patient Disclosure and Patient-Doctor Communication of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use: A Systematic Review 
The Oncologist  2012;17(11):1475-1481.
This article explores the nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine use among cancer patients, including reasons for and outcomes from nondisclosure, within the context of patient-doctor communication.
Learning Objectives
After completing this course, the reader will be able to: Discuss the danger inherent in nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use due to the potential for herb- or vitamin-drug interactions with conventional treatment.Explain the need for greater patient-doctor communication about CAM use in oncology settings in order to maintain patient safety and wellbeing.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at
To explore the nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among cancer patients, including reasons for and outcomes from nondisclosure of CAM use, within the context of patient-doctor communication.
A systematic review was conducted exploring investigations surrounding the communication of CAM use for patients with cancer published until August 2011.
A total of 21 studies were located, which reported a prevalence of CAM use among patients with cancer ranging between 11% and 95%; of these patients, 20% to 77% did not disclose their CAM use. The main reasons for nondisclosure were the doctor's lack of inquiry; patient's anticipation of the doctor's disapproval, disinterest, or inability to help; and patient's perception that disclosure of CAM use is irrelevant to their conventional care. There is some evidence to suggest that patient-doctor communication about the use of CAM was associated with an enhanced patient-doctor relationship and higher patient satisfaction.
Although the use of CAM by patients with cancer is high, patients frequently fail to disclose its use to their health professionals for reasons emanating from both sides of the dyadic patient-doctor relationship. Because a substantial proportion of patients with cancer may use CAM and there is potential for herb- or vitamin-drug interactions, further research in patient-doctor communication about CAM is necessary to maintain patient safety and wellbeing. The development of effective interventions to improve the disclosure of CAM use should be an integral part of this future research.
PMCID: PMC3500370  PMID: 22933591
Complementary and alternative medicine; Cancer; Disclosure; Doctor-patient relations
19.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by older adults – a cross-sectional survey 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:38.
Very little is known about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by older adults in Germany. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of CAM and other health promoting substances (e.g., herbal teas) by older adults of at least 70 years of age.
A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among persons of ≥70 years from metropolitan Berlin and rural parts of Brandenburg, Germany. Recorded were: demographics, current use of CAM, medical diagnoses, users’ opinions and preferences.
A total of 400 older adults, living as ‘self-reliant’ (n = 154), ‘home care service user’ (n = 97), or ‘in nursing home’ (n = 149), and with the legal status ‘without guardian’ (n = 355) or ‘with guardian’ (n = 45) were included (mean age 81.8 ± 7.4 years, 78.5% female). Any type of CAM used 61.3% of respondents (dietary supplements 35.5%, herbal medicines 33.3%, and external preparations 26.8%); 3.0% used drug-interaction causing preparations. Usage was based on recommendations (total 30.3%; in 20.0% by friends or family and 10.4% by pharmacists), own initiative (27.3%), and doctors’ prescription (25.8%). Participants with legal guardian took almost solely prescribed dietary supplements. Of the others, only half (58.7%) informed their general practitioner (GP) of their CAM use. Participants expected significant (44.9%) or moderate (37.1%) improvement; half of them perceived a good effect (58.7%) and two-thirds (64.9%) generally preferred a combination of CAM and conventional medicine. More than half (57.9%) stated that they could neither assess whether their CAM preparations have side effects, nor assess what the side effects might be. Strongest predictors for CAM use were two treatment preferences (vs. ‘conventional only’: ‘CAM only’, OR = 3.98, p = 0.0042 and ‘CAM + conventional’, 3.02, 0.0028) and the type of health insurance (‘statutory’ vs. ‘private’, 3.57, 0.0356); against CAM use two subjective assessments predicted (vs. ‘CAM causes no harm’: ‘CAM causes harmful drug interactions’, 0.25, 0.0536 and ‘I cannot assess side effects’, 0.28, 0.0010).
Older German adults frequently use CAM. They perceived it as an effective complement to conventional medicine, but are not sufficiently informed about risks and benefits.
PMCID: PMC3974184  PMID: 24669824
Older adults; CAM; Dietary supplements; Nursing home; Residential care; Legal guardian
20.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:7.
The present study describes Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst Italian women transitioning through menopause. Popularity and perceived effectiveness of CAM treatments, use of pharmaceutical medications, characteristics of CAM users, the extent of communication between medical practitioners and women about their use of CAM, and variables associated with CAM use were also investigated.
Women, aged 45-65 years attending Family Planning and Women's Health clinics or Menopause Centres in Bologna were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous, self administered questionnaire, which was used in a previous study in Sydney. The questionnaire was translated and adapted for use amongst Italian women. Data on general demographic and health characteristics, menopause related symptoms and the use of CAM and pharmaceutical treatments during the previous 12 months were collected.
In total, 1,203 women completed the survey, of which 1,106 were included in the final sample. Of women who had symptoms linked with menopause and/or used remedies to alleviate symptoms, 33.5% reported to have used CAM. Among these, 23.5% had consulted one or more practitioners and 24% had used at least one CAM product.
Approximately nine out of ten respondents reported medical practitioners did not seek information about their use of CAM; while one third of CAM users did not disclose the use of CAM to their physician. Nevertheless, medical practitioners were the most popular source of information. From the multivariate analysis, variables associated with CAM use were: professional employment, time since the last natural menses, use of CAM for conditions other than menopause, and presence of some severe symptoms.
The relatively high prevalence of CAM use by women transitioning through menopause should encourage research initiatives into determining which CAM treatments are the safest and effective. The increasing and likely concomitant use of CAM with HRT and other pharmaceuticals underlines the need for the implementation of a surveillance system to report and monitor possible drug-herb adverse events. The discrepancy between women preferring to seek information about CAM from their medical doctor and the difficulties noted in communication between doctor and patient should encourage educational initiatives on CAM by health-care agencies and institutions.
PMCID: PMC2846842  PMID: 20187964
21.  Complementary and alternative medicine use in adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease and juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
The use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) is potentially prevalent among paediatric patients with chronic diseases but with variable rates among different age groups, diseases and countries. There are no recent reports on CAM use among paediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in Europe. We hypothesized that CAM use associates with a more severe disease in paediatric IBD and JIA.
A cross-sectional questionnaire study among adolescent outpatients with IBD and JIA addressing the frequency and type of CAM use during the past year. The patients were recruited at the Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Of the 147 respondents, 97 had IBD (Crohn’s disease: n = 46; median age 15.5, disease duration 3.4 years) and 50 had JIA (median age 13.8, disease duration 6.9 years). During the past 12 months, 48% regularly used CAM while 81% reported occasional CAM use. Compared to patients with JIA, the use of CAM in IBD patients tended to be more frequent. The most commonly used CAM included probiotics, multivitamins, and mineral and trace element supplements. Self-imposed dietary restrictions were common, involving 27.6% of the non-CAM users but 64.8% of all CAM users. Disease activity was associated with CAM use in JIA but not in IBD.
CAM use is frequent among adolescents with IBD and JIA and associates with self-imposed dietary restrictions. Reassuringly, adherence to disease modifying drugs is good in young CAM users. In JIA, patients with active disease used more frequently CAM than patients with inactive disease. As CAM use is frequent, physicians should familiarise themselves with the basic concepts of CAM. The potential pharmacological interaction or the toxicity of certain CAM products warrants awareness and hence physicians should actively ask their patients about CAM use.
PMCID: PMC4101821  PMID: 24708564
Children; Colitis ulcerative; Crohn’s disease; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Paediatric
22.  Complementary and alternative medicine utilization by a sample of infertile couples in Jordan for infertility treatment: clinics-based survey 
Although there is little information available to quantify the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), growing evidence suggests that CAM prevalence among patients seeking infertility treatment is increasing worldwide. There are many products available on the market and many infertile patients demand information about CAM from their health care providers. This paper investigates the prevalence of CAM use among infertile couples in Jordan. Additionally, trends and factors contributing to CAM use for infertility treatment among these couples have been evaluated.
A face-to-face questionnaire inquiring demographic information, use of CAM for medical conditions, in general, and types of CAM used for infertility treatment, in specific, was completed by one thousand twenty one infertile patients attending at two types of facilities; in vitro Fertilization (IVF) centers at both public and private hospitals and infertility private clinics. Both types of facilities were distributed in different areas of Amman, the capital city of Jordan. The study was conducted between May and August 2012.
Our results show that CAM therapies for infertility treatment were encountered in 44.7% of the study sample. The vast majority of CAM users were females. The most commonly used CAM therapies were herbs and spiritual healing. A clear correlation between the use of CAM for infertility versus the use of CAM for other chronic medical conditions has been found.
The prevalence of CAM use for infertility treatment in Jordan is relatively high, particularly among young females, well educated and with a low income, in consistence with the studies reported elsewhere. Herbs and spiritual healing are widely used among patients in adjunct to conventional medical interventions. As CAM use is prevalent among patients, there is a clear need for health providers to become more aware of this phenomenon and for further research in this field.
PMCID: PMC3599001  PMID: 23414246
Complementary and alternative medicine; Infertility treatment
23.  A Comparative Study of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Heterosexually and Lesbian Identified Women: Data from the ESTHER Project (Pittsburgh, PA, 2003–2006) 
The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among women in the United States is high. Little is known about how CAM use may differ based on sexual orientation. Study aims were to measure the prevalence of CAM use in a community sample of women, explore differences in CAM use patterns by sexual orientation, and identify correlates of CAM use.
Analyses were based on women (Total N = 879; n = 479 lesbians) enrolled in the Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women (ESTHER) Project, a cross-sectional heart-disease risk-factor study.
Data were collected through convenience sampling of adult females in Pittsburgh, PA (2003–2006).
Outcome measures
Main outcome measures included lifetime and past 12-month CAM use, and types of CAM modalities used in the past 12 months.
The prevalence of having ever used CAM was 49.8%, with 42% having reported CAM use within the past 12 months. Lesbians had greater odds of having ever used CAM (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.23, 2.28]) and of having used CAM in the past 12 months (AOR = 1.44 [CI: 1.06, 1.97]) than heterosexuals. In multivariate analyses, correlates of lifetime and past 12-month CAM use included being lesbian, white, higher educated, and a large-city resident; experiencing perceived discrimination in a health care setting; and having a greater spirituality rating and a history of a diagnosed mental health disorder. Past 12-month CAM use was also associated with having a provider of usual health care. Among women who used CAM within the past 12 months, heterosexuals had significantly higher yoga participation rates than lesbians.
Sexual orientation is important in understanding lifetime and past 12-month CAM use. Because of the high prevalence of CAM use found in this study, medical practitioners should inquire about the CAM practices of female patients, particularly lesbians.
PMCID: PMC3111143  PMID: 21058883
24.  Prevalence and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine use among diabetic patients in Beirut, Lebanon: a cross-sectional study 
Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies due to difficulty in adhering to the therapeutic regimens and lifestyle changes necessary for disease management. Little is known about the prevalence and mode of CAM use among patients with T2DM in Lebanon.
To assess the prevalence and modes of CAM use among patients with T2DM residing in Beirut, Lebanon.
A cross-sectional survey of T2DM patients was conducted on patients recruited from two major referral centers in Beirut- a public hospital and a private academic medical center. In a face-to-face interview, participants completed a questionnaire comprised of three sections: socio-demographic, diabetes characteristics and types and modes of CAM use. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were utilized to assess the prevalence and correlates of CAM use, as well as whether the use was complementary or alternative to mainstream medicine. The main outcome in this study, CAM use, was defined as using CAM at least once since diagnosis with T2DM.
A total of 333 T2DM patients completed the survey (response rate: 94.6%). Prevalence of CAM use since diagnosis with the disease was 38%. After adjustment, CAM use was significantly associated with a “married” status, a longer duration of T2DM, the presence of disease complications, and a positive family history of the disease. Folk foods and herbs were the most commonly used CAM followed by natural health products. One in five patients used CAM as alternative to conventional treatment. Only 7% of CAM users disclosed the CAM use to their treating physician. Health care practitioners were the least cited (7%) as influencing the choice of CAM among users.
The use of CAM therapies among T2DM patients in Lebanon is prevalent. Decision makers and care providers must fully understand the potential risks and benefits of CAM therapies to appropriately advise their patients. Attention must be dedicated to educating T2DM patients on the importance of disclosing CAM use to their physicians especially patients with a family history of diabetes, and those who have had the disease for a long time.
PMCID: PMC4074134  PMID: 24906634
Complementary and alternative medicine; Type-two diabetes mellitus; Prevalence; Patient safety; Integration; Policy; Lebanon
25.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Was Associated with Higher Perceived Physical and Mental Functioning in Early Systemic Sclerosis 
Explore (New York, N.Y.)  2008;4(4):259-263.
This study assessed the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in patients with early systemic sclerosis (scleroderma, SSc).
At the annual visit, SSc patients enrolled in the Genetics versus Environment in Scleroderma Outcomes Study (GENISOS) were queried about their use of CAM therapies and intended symptom target, including herbal or nutriceutical therapy, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) and mind-body therapy (relaxation, meditative, imagery). The CAM user SSc patients were compared to matched non-CAM users over two years for database results of demographic, clinical and health-related quality of life SF-36 questionnaires by analysis of covariance.
25% of the university GENISOS group were CAM users: age: 54 years; female: 89%; diffuse cutaneous involvement: 47%; total skin score: 13.5; Medsger severity index: 5.8. Over 70% used ≥1 CAM therapies for over 1 year, independent of health insurance. Symptoms targeted included arthritis/arthralgia, pain, GI dysmotility and fatigue. CAM users had significantly higher mean mental component summary (MCS) scores on SF-36 at Baseline and Year 2, (49 and 49.9), compared to non-CAM users (42 and 40.2, respectively, p<0.01). At Year 2, the CAM user group had significantly higher scores of SF-36 domains physical component score, role-physical, bodily pain and vitality, whereas scores declined in the non-CAM user group.
In SSc, 70% of those in the CAM user group reported a long-term commitment to CAM therapies. Higher perceived mental functioning in CAM users might reflect more self-motivation to manage symptoms and subsequently, promote practices that result in higher perceived physical functioning.
PMCID: PMC2875784  PMID: 18602619
CAM; SF-36; Integrative Medicine; Pain; Arthritis; GI Hypomotility; Scleroderma; GENISOS

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