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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Infectious diseases physicians' attitudes and practices related to complementary and integrative medicine: Results of a national survey

  • Author(s): Shere-Wolfe, KD
  • Tilburt, JC
  • D'Adamo, C
  • Berman, B
  • Chesney, MA
  • et al.

Background. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative medicine (IM) modalities are widely used by patients, including those with infectious diseases (ID). Methods. One thousand randomly selected ID practitioners were surveyed. The survey was divided into domains related to familiarity and recommendation, beliefs and attitudes, and use of CAM/IM modalities. Results. The response rate was 31%. ID physicians were most familiar with vitamin and mineral supplementation (83%), massage (80%), acupuncture (79%), chiropractic (77%), yoga (74%), and herbal medicine (72%). ID physicians most recommended vitamin and mineral supplementation (80%) and massage (62%). Yoga, meditation, and acupuncture were recommended by 52%, 45%, and 46%, respectively. Drug interactions, clinical research, and knowledge of CAM/IM modalities were factors that were considered a major influence. Almost 80% of respondents indicated an interest in IM versus 11% for CAM. Most respondents (75%) felt that IM modalities are useful, and more than 50% believed that they could directly affect the immune system or disease process. Conclusion. ID physicians expressed a markedly greater interest for IM versus CAM. They appear to be familiar and willing to recommend some CAM/IM modalities and see a role for these in the management of certain infectious diseases. Data regarding clinical efficacy and safety appear to be important factors. © 2013 Kalpana D. Shere-Wolfe et al.

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