Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Complimentary and Sustainable Medicine

Complimentary and Sustainable Medicine 

A recent study of 14,329 employed adults in the US found that doctors and nurses use complimentary medicine more than the general population 1. They found 76 percent of healthcare workers use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) compared to 63 percent of the general population. 

On the one hand this is positive, but on the other this is concerning given not only the lack of encouragement from the medical establishments to use CAM, but also their willingness to dish out drugs which could otherwise be treated by CAM. However, this is understandable given that the doctors know more about the toxic, even deadly side effects of drugs. There are more than 400 000 adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs in Australia each year and probably more than 10 000 people die as a result of these drugs (although true numbers are not available). Government information from the US shows that there were 3,764,698,318 prescription drugs filled in the US in 2011. The average American aged between 19 and 64 used 12 prescriptions a year and those over 65 used 28 prescriptions each year. Males used 9.7 prescriptions on average while females used 14.3. 

The study shows that most doctors and nurses who operate in mainstream medicine actually have more knowledge and appreciation for alternative medicine than most people suspect. 

Another study in the UK in 2010 2 showed growing numbers of people are turning to alternative medicines and that sales of alternative medicines are booming 2. The market has reportedly grown by 18 per cent in two years and they predict sales will increase by 33 per cent over the next four years as more patients reject prescription drugs in favour of natural remedies. This growth can be explained by the acceptance of many treatments such as acupuncture, which is available on the NHS as well as a move away from potentially dangerous prescription drugs. 

There are many other additional benefits of using CAM in Australia, including financial ones. The study found herbal preparations and omega-3s are effective treatments against an array of illnesses including osteoarthritis, heart disease and depression and could save the country more than $220m every year. However, the real benefit is that these supplements have no negative side effects and can help with multiple conditions. Omega 3 oils can assist in more than 50 different health conditions from asthma, cancer, CVD to depression and Alzheimer’s.  

The researchers found omega-3s were effective against heart disease and that St John’s Wort could save $50m annually in anti-depression pharmaceutical spending 

The clinical evidence showing complementary medicine can play a vital role in improving an individual's health has been clear for some time and needs to be considered as a serious part of the health care system in Western nations. 

1) Johnson, Pamela Jo, Andrew Ward, Lori Knutson, Sue Sendelbach4 
Personal Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) by U.S. Health Care Workers. Health Services Research. Volume 47, Issue 1pt1, pages 211–227, February 2012 
Article first published online: 22 AUG 2011 
DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01304.x 

2) Alternative medicine sales soar as consumers shake off cynicism By Daily Mail Reporter. 26th January 2010 

1 comment:

  1. Peter this sound's great! But you dont say where i can get access to all this complimentary medicine?
    I would love to get complimentary medicine. Is it avalable in Australia?
    Because I always seem to have to pay for medicine and it seem's lot's of doctors and nurses and other people get it for free????. Please answer!