Use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with Arthritis or Fibromyalgia Syndrome
A recent study has found that patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome use Complementary and Alternative Medicine more often than patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, or chronic joint symptoms. 1
The article notes that previous studies suggest that people with various forms of Arthritis and Fibromyalgia Syndrome have high rates of using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches for managing their symptoms, in addition to conventional treatments such as prescription medications. However, little is known about the use of CAM by diagnosis, or which forms of CAM are most frequently used by these patients.
This study was designed to provide detailed information about use of CAM for symptoms associated with various forms of Arthritis or Fibromyalgia Syndrome in patients followed in primary care and specialty clinics in North Carolina, USA.
Over 2,000 patients from both primary care (n = 1,077) and specialist (n = 1,063) physician offices took part in the study.
Summary statistics were used to calculate differences within and between diagnostic groups, practice settings, and other characteristics. Logistic regression models clustered at the site level were used to determine the effect of patient characteristics on ever and current use of 9 CAM categories and an overall category of "any use."
The researchers found that most of the participants followed by specialists (90.5%) and a slightly smaller percentage of those in the primary care sample (82.8%) had tried at least 1 complementary therapy for Arthritis or Fibromyalgia symptoms. 1
Participants with Fibromyalgia Syndrome used complementary therapies more often than those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, or chronic joint symptoms. More than 50% of patients in both samples used over-the-counter topical pain relievers, more than 25% used meditation or drew on religious or spiritual beliefs, and more than 19% used a chiropractor. 1
Women and participants with higher levels of education were more likely to report current use of alternative therapies. 1
The researchers concluded that:
"Most arthritis patients in both primary care and specialty settings have used CAM for their...symptoms. Health care providers (especially musculoskeletal specialists) should discuss these therapies with all arthritis patients." 1
- Callahan LF, Wiley-Exley EK, Mielenz TJ, Brady TJ, Xiao C, Currey SS, Sleath BL, Sloane PD, DeVellis RF, Sniezek J. Use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with arthritis. Prev Chronic Dis. 2009 Apr;6(2):A44. Epub 2009 Mar 16.