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Mov Disord. 2004 Feb;19(2):158-61.

Utilization and perceived effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine in patients with dystonia.

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Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.


The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing worldwide, especially by patients with chronic diseases. To date, no data are available about utilization and perceived effectiveness of CAM in patients with dystonia. A questionnaire survey on utilization and costs of CAM was completed by 180 members of the German Dystonia Society, a patient advocate group. In total, 131 dystonia patients (73%) were current or former users of CAM, 55 patients used CAM in addition to botulinum toxin A injections, and 86 patients had experience with three or more CAM methods. The options used most widely were acupuncture (56%), relaxation techniques (44%), homeopathy (27%), and massages (26%). Among users of specific CAM methods, breathing therapy, Feldenkrais, massages, and relaxation techniques were perceived as most effective. On average, patients spent 1,513 Euro on CAM without reimbursement. There was no correlation between costs and perceived effectiveness of different methods. In line with other studies on chronically ill patients, our results show that dystonia patients frequently utilize CAM methods, often in addition to conventional treatment. There is a growing need to evaluate scientifically the effect of CAM methods on symptom severity and quality of life in dystonia, to prevent utilization of costly and ineffective CAM treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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