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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Dec;63(6):1000-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.12.009. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Use of complementary and alternative medicine among adults with skin disease: updated results from a national survey.

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University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.



In the United States, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used for a variety of diseases, including those of the skin. An estimate of the prevalence of CAM use among adults with skin disease using the alternative health supplement of the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has been published.


We sought to analyze the 2007 NHIS data to update the prevalence of CAM use among adults with skin disease in the United States.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey using the 2007 alternative health supplement of the NHIS.


Among those reporting skin problems in the past year, 84.5% (95% confidence interval 76.9-92.0) used CAM. Only 1.1% of this group (95% confidence interval 0.7-1.6) used CAM specifically for skin disease. Adjusting for race, sex, income, education level, and region, those reporting skin problems were more likely to use CAM than those who did not report skin problems (adjusted odds ratio 2.5, P ≤ .002, 95% confidence interval 1.4-4.4). Vitamin/mineral and herbal supplements were the most common CAM modalities used among those with skin disease in general, and among those who used CAM specifically for skin problems.


As this is not a dermatology-focused database, the definition of skin disease is limited. It was not possible to comment on trends between the 2002 and 2007 data because the 2007 survey was significantly changed.


CAM use among adults with skin problems in the United States continues to be common. Addition of a specific dermatology supplement to a future NHIS survey would allow for population-based estimates not only of CAM use but of associations with other comorbid conditions among adults with skin disease in the United States.

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