Items in AFP with MESH term: Complementary Therapies
Acute Low Back Pain - Clinical Evidence Handbook
Echinacea - Article
ABSTRACT: Echinacea is the name of a genus of native North American plants, commonly known as the purple coneflower. The most widely used herbal product in the United States is a liquid extract made from the root of Echinacea purpurea. Because the active component of the plant has not been identified, commercial echinacea products are not typically standardized to any particular component. The research literature on echinacea is difficult to evaluate because of the heterogeneity of the products used in various studies. The herb has been recommended as a prophylactic treatment for upper respiratory infection and is widely used for this indication. However, based on the current literature, it appears that prophylactic echinacea does not have a significant impact on the frequency, severity, or duration of upper respiratory infection. The data regarding treatment of upper respiratory infection appear to support a modest positive effect. No significant herb-drug interactions with echinacea have been reported; adverse effects reported generally have been uncommon and minor, including abdominal upset, nausea, and dizziness.
ABSTRACT: Americans spend more on natural remedies for osteoarthritis than for any other medical condition. In treating osteoarthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, two of the molecular building blocks found in articular cartilage, are the most commonly used alternative supplements. In randomized trials of variable quality, these compounds show efficacy in reducing symptoms, but neither has been shown to arrest progression of the disease or regenerate damaged cartilage. Although few clinical trials on S-adenosylmethionine exist, preliminary evidence indicates that it relieves pain to a degree similar to that of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs but with fewer side effects. Clinical trials of dimethyl sulfoxide offer conflicting results. Neither ginger nor cetyl myristoleate has proven clinical usefulness.
Peppermint Oil - Article
ABSTRACT: Peppermint leaf and peppermint oil have a long history of use for digestive disorders. Recent evidence suggests that enteric-coated peppermint oil may be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A combination product including peppermint oil and caraway oil seems to be moderately effective in the treatment of non-ulcer dyspepsia. Topical application of peppermint oil may be effective in the treatment of tension headache. Because of its relaxing effects on smooth muscle, peppermint oil given via enema has been modestly effective for relief of colonic spasm in patients undergoing barium enemas. Peppermint oil is well tolerated at the commonly recommended dosage, but it may cause significant adverse effects at higher dosages.
Are You Talking to Your Patients About CAM? - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Generalized anxiety disorder is common among patients in primary care. Affected patients experience excessive chronic anxiety and worry about events and activities, such as their health, family, work, and finances. The anxiety and worry are difficult to control and often lead to physiologic symptoms, including fatigue, muscle tension, restlessness, and other somatic complaints. Other psychiatric problems (e.g., depression) and nonpsychiatric factors (e.g., endocrine disorders, medication adverse effects, withdrawal) must be considered in patients with possible generalized anxiety disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy and the first-line pharmacologic agents, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are effective treatments. However, evidence suggests that the effects of cognitive behavior therapy may be more durable. Although complementary and alternative medicine therapies have been used, their effectiveness has not been proven in generalized anxiety disorder. Selection of the most appropriate treatment should be based on patient preference, treatment success history, and other factors that could affect adherence and subsequent effectiveness.
ABSTRACT: Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain affects the functionality, mood, and sleep patterns of approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus. Treatment goals include restoring function and improving pain control. Patients can realistically expect a 30 to 50 percent reduction in discomfort with improved functionality. The main classes of agents used to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain include tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, opiates and opiate-like substances, and topical medications. Physicians should ask patients whether they have tried complementary and alternative medicine therapies for their pain. Only two medications are approved specifically for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: pregabalin and duloxetine. However, evidence supports the use of other therapies, and unless there are contraindications, tricyclic antidepressants are the first-line treatment. Because patients often have multiple comorbidities, physicians must consider potential adverse effects and possible drug interactions before prescribing a medication.
ABSTRACT: Cough is the most common symptom bringing patients to the primary care physician’s office, and acute bronchitis is usually the diagnosis in these patients. Acute bronchitis should be differentiated from other common diagnoses, such as pneumonia and asthma, because these conditions may need specific therapies not indicated for bronchitis. Symptoms of bronchitis typically last about three weeks. The presence or absence of colored (e.g., green) sputum does not reliably differentiate between bacterial and viral lower respiratory tract infections. Viruses are responsible for more than 90 percent of acute bronchitis infections. Antibiotics are generally not indicated for bronchitis, and should be used only if pertussis is suspected to reduce transmission or if the patient is at increased risk of developing pneumonia (e.g., patients 65 years or older). The typical therapies for managing acute bronchitis symptoms have been shown to be ineffective, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends against using cough and cold preparations in children younger than six years. The supplement pelargonium may help reduce symptom severity in adults. As patient expectations for antibiotics and therapies for symptom management differ from evidence-based recommendations, effective communication strategies are necessary to provide the safest therapies available while maintaining patient satisfaction.
ABSTRACT: Natural supplements are widely used by the American public but, while claims of their therapeutic effects abound, medical research does not always support their effectiveness. Clinical trials using Q10 for the management of congestive heart failure have had conflicting results; hawthorn is prescribed in Germany for the treatment of this condition, but no trials have been conducted in the United States. Although initial research about the use of garlic in the management of hypercholesterolemia was encouraging, follow-up studies have failed to verify these results. Substituting soy protein for high-fat animal protein diets, however, does have a beneficial effect on serum lipid levels. So far, cholestin (a natural product containing several statins) has proved to be a cost-saving lipid-lowering medication, and fenugreek may offer modest improvement as well. Gugulipid is also promising but requires further research.