Sunday, 13 January 2013

Research:MSers take supplements

Skovgaard et al. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among People with Multiple Sclerosis in the Nordic Countries. Autoimmune Dis. 2012;2012:841085.

Aims. The aim of the study was to describe and compare (1) the types and prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments used among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the Nordic countries; (2) the types of conventional treatments besides disease-modifying medicine for MS that were used in combination with CAM treatments; (3) the types of symptoms/health issues addressed by use of CAM treatments. 

Methods. An internet-based questionnaire was used to collect data from 6455 members of the five Nordic MS societies. The response rates varied from 50.9% in Norway to 61.5% in Iceland. 

Results. A large range of CAM treatments were reported to be in use in all five Nordic countries. Supplements of vitamins and minerals, supplements of oils, special diet, acupuncture, and herbal medicine were among the CAM treatment modalities most commonly used. The prevalence of the overall use of CAM treatments within the last twelve months varied from 46.0% in Sweden to 58.9% in Iceland. CAM treatments were most often used in combination with conventional treatments. The conventional treatments that were most often combined with CAM treatment were prescription medication, physical therapy, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The proportion of CAM users who reported exclusive use of CAM (defined as use of no conventional treatments besides disease-modifying medicine for MS) varied from 9.5% in Finland to 18.4% in Norway. In all five Nordic countries, CAM treatments were most commonly used for nonspecific/preventative purposes such as strengthening the body in general, improving the body's muscle strength, and improving well-being. CAM treatments were less often used for the purpose of improving specific symptoms such as body pain, problems with balance, and fatigue/lack of energy. 

Conclusions. A large range of CAM treatments were used by individuals with MS in all Nordic countries. The most commonly reported rationale for CAM treatment use focused on improving the general state of health. The overall pattern of CAM treatment use was similar across the five countries.

This does not surprise me that people take a lot of complementary medicines, the surprise is that it is not a higher frequency. Many of Team G take Vitamins and Health Food Shops would not be in business if we believed that the pharmaceutical industry has all the answer.

1 comment:

  1. I think your survey would provide more useful data if it asked for some basic information about what CAM treatments people are using. A checkbox listing those most frequently used, and character limits on text boxes for "Other" would help keep the data to manageable limits.


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