Complementary and alternative drug therapy in arthritis

Author: Chandrashekara S//Anilkumar T//Jamuna S
Department of Clinical Immunology, MS Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore
Conference/Journal: J Assoc Physicians India
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 50 , Pages: 225-7 , Special Notes: Comment in J Assoc Physicians India. 2002 Feb;50:223-4. , Word Count: 205

Utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is universal phenomenon. They are used commonly in chronic diseases like arthritis. To understand the pattern of utilization we undertook this study focussing mainly on the systems, where drug is administered orally.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: One hundred and fourteen patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), satisfying American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria were interviewed for the modalities of therapy and drugs used. We analysed prescriptions of both conventional and CAM practitioners. Direct questionnaires regarding CAM were avoided.

RESULTS: Fourty three percent (46/114) had used CAM drugs and 50% of them had used more than two modalities. Ayurveda followed by homeopathy were the two common CAM utilized by the patients. Majority believed conventional medicine has no cure for RA and adverse reactions were rare in CAM. These factors predominantly influenced their decision to use CAM. Family income, urban and rural living did not influence usage of CAM. The use of CAM increased as the duration of disease increased.

CONCLUSION: Majority of the patients utilize CAM drugs, for treatment of arthritis. Their knowledge is essential to avoid drug interactions, recognise their reactions and also appreciate their risks and benefits. A scientific scrutiny to these practices and absolving them if beneficial is needed