Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Rheumatol. Nov 12, 2015; 5(3): 142-147
Published online Nov 12, 2015. doi: 10.5499/wjr.v5.i3.142
Complementary medicine use in rheumatology: A review
Woan H Wong, Anna E Litwic, Elaine M Dennison
Woan H Wong, Anna E Litwic, Elaine M Dennison, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, United Kingdom
Elaine M Dennison, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6004, New Zealand
Author contributions: Wong WH performed literature search under the supervision of Dennison EM, Litwic AE drafted the manuscript; Dennison EM oversaw the project.
Conflict-of-interest statement: None to declare.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Elaine M Dennison, MB, BChir, MA, MSc, PhD, FRCP, Professor, Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Rd, Southampton SO16 6YD, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44-23-80777624 Fax: +44-23-80704021
Received: November 27, 2014
Peer-review started: November 28, 2014
First decision: December 12, 2014
Revised: June 27, 2015
Accepted: July 29, 2015
Article in press: August 3, 2015
Published online: November 12, 2015

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is increasing worldwide; specifically it appears that these treatment modalities are popular among rheumatology patients. The most commonly reported CAM therapies are herbal medicines, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and reflexology. Despite high reported rates of CAM use, the number of patients disclosing use to their rheumatologists remains low. This review highlights rates of current CAM use in rheumatology in studies performed worldwide, and discusses potential reasons for nondisclosure of CAM use to clinicians.

Keywords: Complementary medicine, Alternative medicine, Rheumatology, Arthritis, Acupuncture

Core tip: Complementary and alternative medicine is widely used among rheumatology patients, who often do not inform their consultants that they are using such therapies. This may reflect a fear that clinicians may not approve, or a lack of awareness that the information may be helpful in their management. Increased awareness of the issue, and better education of clinicians and patients is beneficial.