Leukemia Patients in India &CAM

Original Report

Patterns and perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among leukaemia patients visiting haematology clinic of a north Indian tertiary care hospital

M. Gupta 1, N. Shafiq 1, S. Kumari 2, P. Pandhi 1 * 1Department of Pharmacology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh-160 012, India 2Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh-160 012, India

email: P. Pandhi (ppandhi17@hotmail.com)

*Correspondence to P. Pandhi, Department of Pharmacology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh-160 012, India.

Abstract

Purpose

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer treatments is widespread with substantial number of patients deserting conventional cancer therapies in favour of unproven methods.

The present study aimed at discovering the prevalence of use of CAM cancer therapies in leukaemia patients visiting haematology clinic of a north Indian tertiary care hospital.

Methods

533 consecutive leukaemia patients were interviewed. Information was gathered about patients' demographics, types of CAM taken, sequence of seeking CAM and conventional medicine, sources of recommendation, reasons of opting for CAM, and areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction associated with the use of CAM.

Patients were also asked if they had informed their doctor about CAM use.

Results

Prevalence of CAM use in leukaemia patients was found to be 56.6%. Ayurveda was the most commonly used CAM (33%).

Most of the patients sought conventional medicine first, followed by CAM therapies. Fifty-two percent of the patients opted for CAM hoping for a miracle cure and 51% were dissatisfied with these therapies.

Family members and neighbours constituted major source of recommendation of CAM therapy. Only 3.8% of the patients had informed their doctors about CAM use.

Conclusion

A sizeable percentage of patients receiving conventional treatment for leukaemia also use CAM therapies.

Clinicians should not underestimate the value of hopeful attitude in their management of leukaemia patients and ought to be conversant with popular forms of CAM cancer therapies

Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Volume 11, Issue 8 , Pages 671 - 676


Ann Fonfa's email to the author/RESPONSE

11/2/03


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