Previous studies on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have relied on data from specialty clinics.
In this study, investigators from Canada determined the prevalence of use, and the perceived outcomes of CAM, in a diverse population of patients with IBD.
The team used a postal survey to gather data on demographic, disease, and conventional IBD treatment characteristics, as well as on the use and perceived effects of CAM.
They recorded survey respondents as either not using CAM, as past or present users of CAM for their IBD, or as present users of CAM for other reasons.
Comparisons between groups were made with using a Chi2 test.
They team received responses from 2847 IBD patients.
|47% of patients reported current or past use of complementary or alternative medicine.|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The researchers found that current or past use of CAM for IBD was reported by 47% of patients, and 23% continued their use of CAM.
Furthermore, only 15% had used CAM before their IBD diagnosis.
The team identified herbal therapies as the most commonly used CAM therapy (41%).
The most commonly reported benefits were an improved sense of well-being, improved IBD symptoms, and sense of control over the disease.
They found that 16% of prior CAM users reported any adverse effects of CAM use.
The team determined that a complementary practitioner was consulted by 34% of patients, and in the previous year, 46% had spent more than $250 on CAM.
Dr Robert Hilsden's team concluded, "Use of CAM by IBD patients is very common".
"Most of these patients attribute significant benefits to their CAM use".
"Few report significant adverse events".