OBJECTIVES: To study the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) drugs and methods in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases, at rheumatology clinics in western Sweden, and to investigate possible associations between CAM-using habits and other characteristics of the patients.
METHODS: Randomly selected rheumatology outpatients were asked to complete questionnaires about CAM usage, diagnoses, medication, quality of life (using the 36-item Short Form Health Survey, SF-36), fatigue (using the 20-item Multiple Fatigue Inventory, MFI-20), the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), and visual analogue scales (VAS) for global health, pain, and fatigue.
RESULT: A total of 200 patients were included, 137 women and 63 men, mean age 55+/-16 and 54+/-15 years, respectively. Ongoing CAM use was reported by 58 patients (29%): 45 (22.5%) were taking CAM drugs, 20 (10%) were using CAM methods. Altogether 130 patients (65%) had used CAM at some time of their lives; 103 patients (51%) had used CAM drugs ever and 90 patients (45%) had used CAM methods ever. Women used more CAM drugs compared with men. Younger patients used more CAM. CAM use was associated with parameters indicating poorer health, mental component score (MCS) and physical component score (PCS) of SF-36, and VAS for global health and fatigue. Ongoing CAM method was associated with less use of immunomodulatory drugs.
CONCLUSION: CAM use is widespread among rheumatology patients in Sweden. A total of 65% of the patients had experience of CAM treatment. Female sex, younger age, and poor health were associated with CAM utilization.
2009. Vol. 38, no 6, 472-480 p.