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Rheumatology patients' use of complementary therapies: results from a one-year longitudinal study.
Rao JK, Kroenke K, Mihaliak KA, Grambow SC, Weinberger M. Rheumatology patients' use of complementary therapies: results from a one-year longitudinal study. Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Oct 15; 49(5):619-25.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the natural history of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and its impact on outcomes within a cohort of rheumatology patients. METHODS: Consecutive patients were recruited from 3 university and 3 private rheumatology practices. Baseline chart reviews provided demographic information and rheumatic diagnoses. Patients answered questions on CAM use and health status during 1 year. We identified correlates of 4 CAM usage patterns (started, maintained, stopped, nonuse) and compared outcomes among these groups. RESULTS: Of 232 baseline participants, 203 (87%) and 177 (76%) responded to the 6- and 12-month surveys. In each survey, approximately 34% reported currently using CAM. During the year, 44% of patients remained nonusers whereas 12% started, 22% maintained, and 22% stopped use. The most frequent reasons for stopping CAM were lack of effectiveness and expense. CAM users and nonusers had no difference in outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Arthritis patients' usage behavior varied substantially, but CAM use was not associated with a difference in outcomes.