How frequently do patients with multiple sclerosis use complementary and alternative medicine?Complement Ther Med. 2005 Dec; 13(4):258-63.CT
The purpose of the study was to examine the prevalence and characteristics of the utilisation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Cross-sectional study using a semi-structured interview.
One hundred and fifty-four MS patients were examined by interview to collect sociodemographic and disease-related variables as well as aspects of their usage of CAM. The investigation was completed by data from neurological examination.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Reported utilisation of CAM by MS patients.
At the time of the investigation 61.7% (n = 95) of the MS patients reported that they were currently using CAM. Most of the therapies utilised (90.3%; n = 205) were complementary and only 9.7% (n = 22) were alternative choices. Users of complementary medicine were more severely affected by the disease than non-users, but no sociodemographic differences between users and non-users were found. Concerning the efficacy of CAM, 65.8% (n = 146) of MS patients reported improvement, 32.9% (n = 73) no influence, and 1.3% (n = 3) worsening of their condition. 4.5% (n = 10) of the CAM therapies were accompanied by slight side-effects.
A large proportion of MS patients use unconventional treatments, yet clinical studies on the efficacy of CAM in these cases have not been undertaken. Therefore, further research on their motivation and on objective effects of CAM is required.