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Med J Aust. 2004 Aug 2;181(3):164-6.

Ethical and legal issues at the interface of complementary and conventional medicine.

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Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Blackburn Building, D06, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Doctors should: Honestly answer patients' direct questions about CAM and elicit information about their use of it. Establish patients' understanding of the conventional and complementary therapies, both those available to them, and those that they may already be using. Establish why the patient uses CAM, and their goals for both complementary and conventional therapies. Reflect on whether information about CAM would be material for that patient at that time, taking into account the patient's burden of illness, his or her expressed preferences and the risks and benefits of both conventional and complementary therapy. Take steps to become adequately informed about available CAM that has consistently been shown to be safe and effective; has consistently been shown to be ineffective and/or harmful; or is consistently enquired about by patients. Become familiar with qualified and competent CAM practitioners (medical and non-medical) to whom referrals can be made when necessary. Continue a relationship with the patient, while continuing to monitor the patient conventionally and staying open to further discussions about CAM.

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