(Extraído de Australian Policy Online)
09 September 2011
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) is now commonplace in Australian society. In a given year, two in every three Australian adults are estimated to use at least one CAM product (e.g. vitamin or mineral supplements and natural or herbal remedies) and one in four are estimated to use a CAM service (e.g. acupuncture, massage, chiropractic therapy).
While these broad figures are known, administrative data concerning CAM product usage patterns is limited because CAMs are not funded routinely through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. For instance, the extent to which CAM products are used to treat specific chronic illnesses is unknown. The extent to which CAM products are used as a substitute for or complement to prescribed medicines is also unknown. This information has significant implications for health professionals and their clients. Knowledge of the extent of CAM product use, their effects and interaction with conventional pharmacological treatments is vital to consumer safety. However, many consumers perceive no danger in CAM use, and do not think to disclose their consumption to their doctors. Moreover, it is not common practice for doctors to ask. For these reasons, it is important that research identifies the prevalence of use, concurrent use of medication types, and profiles of those most likely to use CAM, particularly among more vulnerable populations.
In this paper, the authors investigate: 1) the prevalence of regular CAM product use to treat five chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart or circulatory condition) identified as National Health Priority Areas by the Australian Government; 2) the extent to which CAM and pharmaceutical medications are used independently or in combination to treat these conditions; and 3) the sociodemographic characteristics of those who use CAM in relation to these disorders, and compare them with those who do not.
Authors: Andrew Armstrong, Sophie Thiebaut, Laurie Brown and Binod Nepal