Objective. To examine the natural history of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and its impact on outcomes within a cohort of rheumatology patients. Methods. Consecutive patients were recruited from 3 university and 3 private rheumatology practices. Baseline chart reviews provided demographic information and rheumatic diagnoses. Patients answered questions on CAM use and health status during 1 year. We identified correlates of 4 CAM usage patterns (started, maintained, stopped, nonuse) and compared outcomes among these groups. Results. Of 232 baseline participants, 203 (87%) and 177 (76%) responded to the 6- and 12-month surveys. In each survey, approximately 34% reported currently using CAM. During the year, 44% of patients remained nonusers whereas 12% started, 22% maintained, and 22% stopped use. The most frequent reasons for stopping CAM were lack of effectiveness and expense. CAM users and nonusers had no difference in outcomes. Conclusions. Arthritis patients' usage behavior varied substantially, but CAM use was not associated with a difference in outcomes.
- Complementary therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas