‘ME sufferers rely on alternative medicines’

September 8, 2008

From Press Association Newswire, September 8

More than a third of patients with long-term fatigue conditions like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) believe complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are more effective than traditional medicine in treating their illness, research launched at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester reveals.

98% of patients believed alternative therapy should be available through the NHS.

Researchers from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen found that sufferers of chronic conditions had relief from their symptoms when they used CAMs.

The findings showed:

  • About 34% of participants believed that CAMs were more effective in alleviating their symptoms (including pain and malaise, or a general feeling of low energy and of being unwell) than traditional medicines;

  • 60% believed that taking CAMs kept them well;
  • 73% of participants who reported using CAMs believed that it had improved their health;
  • Of those who reported using chiropractics, 83% said they very satisfied with the treatment;
  • 46% believed that a combination of CAM and orthodox medicine was better than using traditional medicine alone.

Lead researcher, Dr Yash Kumarasamy, said: "Many patients who have a long-term fatigue condition turn to alternative therapies because they feel that orthodox treatments failed to work for them, or because they experienced a lack of support from their healthcare team."

"Patients need to know how important it is to consult a healthcare professional before they take complementary or alternative medicines, or stop taking prescription medication. Pharmacists don't just dispense medicines – they are healthcare professionals with a broad range of knowledge and can help people with expert advice and support in managing their health."

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