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Alternative medicine use common among people with two or more chronic conditions

People with multiple chronic conditions are particularly likely to use complementary and alternative medicines, according to a recent report from Columbia University.

Compared with adults with no conditions, adults with two or more conditions (e.g., cancer and arthritis) were also more likely to use complementary or alternative medicines such as multivitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, mind-body therapies, chiropractic, massage, movement therapies, special diets, acupuncture, naturopathy, or some combination of these therapies.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey and found that more than a third of US adults had two or more chronic conditions, with many using at least one form of complementary or alternative medicine.

Frequent use of dietary supplements among people with two or more conditions is of major importance in disease management because of potential drug interactions. More research is needed to understand the efficacy of supplements and how they interact with standard chronic condition treatments.

Full title: Multiple Chronic Conditions and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among US Adults: Results From the 2012 National Health Interview Survey
Full text available online at http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/
Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol. 13, March 2016
Corresponding Author: Laura Falci, MPH, Columbia University