The use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) by patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased.
In this study, researchers from Switzerland evaluated the extent and the determinants of CAM use by outpatients with IBD.
The research team assessed outpatients of the IBD centre at the University Hospital of Berne and patients of 2 additional gastroenterology private practices in Olten.
Patients completed a mailed self-administrated questionnaire regarding alternative medicine.
|47% of IBD patients had used complementary alternative medicine.|
|Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology|
The questionnaire addressed demographics, disease-related data, 16 types of complementary medicine, attitudes towards alternative versus conventional medicine, and out-of pocket expenses.
The researchers found that alternative medicine has been used by 47% of the patients.
However, diagnosis, duration and activity of disease, gender, age, previous surgery were not predictive for the use of CAM.
The team determined that homeopathy, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine were the most commonly used types of CAM.
Patients cited lack of satisfaction with, and side effects of, conventional therapy and the perceived safety of CAM as reasons for use.
Overall, 61% of patients claimed that their IBD had improved with the use of CAM. In contrast, 16% noted a flare during CAM therapies.
The research team found that 47% of IBD patients paid more than €400 per year for CAM.
Dr Quattropani’s team concluded, “Complementary medicine use is common in patients with IBD”.
“Frequently cited reasons for the use of complementary therapies were safety of CAM; dissatisfaction with conventional therapies, including their side effects; and that CAM can be used in addition to conventional therapy”.