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Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 29–33 | Cite as

Use of complementary and alternative medicine by rheumatoid arthritis patients in Korea

  • Myeung-Su Lee
  • Myeong Soo Lee
  • Chung-Yong Yang
  • Sang-Il Lee
  • Min-Cheol Joo
  • Byung-Cheul Shin
  • Wan-Hee Yoo
  • Yong-Il Shin
Original Article

Abstract

This study measured the prevalence of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Korean patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A trained nurse conducted 20-min questionnaire-based interviews at the hospitals when each patient visited as an outpatient. The questionnaire included questions on demographic information, clinical information, and the use of CAM. Of the 153 respondents, 125 (82%) had used CAM; 37% of those who used CAM had started taking CAM products following suggestions from family members and other relatives. In users of CAM, 35% considered that it improved the symptoms of RA, and 14% felt it was effective in achieving psychological relaxation. We categorized treatment into six CAM categories used by the respondents: 84.0% of patients used traditional Oriental medical treatments, 70.4% used plant- and animal-derived over-the-counter health care products, and 13.6% used manual therapies. Most RA patients (64%) would like to try a new type of CAM. About half of the respondents (48%) expected to receive information about CAM from their general practitioner even if most (72%) did not discuss their use of CAM with their doctor. Most of the RA patients in this study used CAM, and half reported beneficial effects. Despite the presence of adverse side effects, patients tended to use CAM without discussing it with their main physicians, suggesting that physicians should be actively involved in the prescription and use of CAM.

Keywords

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) Rheumatoid arthritis Survey 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper was supported by Wonkwang University in 2005.

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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myeung-Su Lee
    • 1
    • 3
  • Myeong Soo Lee
    • 3
    • 4
  • Chung-Yong Yang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sang-Il Lee
    • 5
  • Min-Cheol Joo
    • 2
    • 3
  • Byung-Cheul Shin
    • 6
  • Wan-Hee Yoo
    • 7
  • Yong-Il Shin
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology, School of MedicineWonkwang UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Wonkwang Medical CenterWonkwang UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  3. 3.Institute of Wonkwang Medical Science, School of MedicineWonkwang UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  4. 4.Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical SchoolUniversities of Exeter and PlymouthExeterUK
  5. 5.Department of Internal Medicine and Institute of Health ScienceGyeongsang National University College of MedicineJinjuSouth Korea
  6. 6.Department of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Oriental MedicineWonkwang UniversityIksanSouth Korea
  7. 7.Department of Rheumatology, Research Institute of Clinical MedicineChonbuk National University Medical SchoolJeonjuSouth Korea

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