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Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Feb;18(1):49-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients seen at the dermatology department of a tertiary care center.

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Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among patients with dermatologic conditions has not been well studied. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and pattern of CAM use in patients referred to the dermatology department of a tertiary care center. Patients referred to the dermatology department of an academic tertiary referral center between February 2, 2010, and February 10, 2010, were invited to participate in an 86-question survey regarding CAM use during the previous year. A total of 300 patients completed the survey, of whom 154 (51%) were women. Eighty-two percent (n = 247) of the respondents had used some type of CAM during the previous year. The most frequently used treatment and technique was massage therapy (33%), and the most commonly used vitamin was vitamin C (31%). Herbs or other dietary supplements were used by 58% (n = 173) of patients. Seventy-eight percent (n = 235) of patients stated that physicians should consider incorporating CAM approaches into their treatment recommendations, and 89% of patients (n = 267) stated that our dermatology department should study CAM approaches in research studies. CAM utilization is high among patients at a large academic dermatology department. Patients indicated a strong preference for having CAM approaches incorporated into their treatment recommendations and believed in the value of clinical studies to further refine the role of CAM.

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