Complementary and alternative therapy improved lives of arthritis patients

October 30, 2012

Nearly a quarter of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis used complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) to help manage their condition, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Researchers interviewed 250 patients aged between 20 and 90 years of age. More than two-thirds (67%) had and the remainder had osteoarthritis.

They found that 23% used CAT in addition to prescribed drugs and that just under two-thirds of those (64%) felt that the therapy was beneficial, reporting improvements in pain intensity, sleeping patterns and activity levels.

"Our study underlines the importance of healthcare professionals being knowledgeable about the potential use of CAT when providing medical care to patients with arthritis" says lead author Professor Nada Alaaeddine, Head of the Regenerative and Inflammation Lab in the Faculty of Medicine, University of St Joseph, Beirut, Lebanon.

"Although CAT might have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, patients should be cautious about their use and should tell their healthcare providers that they are using them to make sure they don't conflict with their existing treatment."

Key findings of the survey included:

  • CAT users had an average age of 45 years, significantly younger than the average non CAT user, who was aged 57 years.
  • CAT use was higher in patients with osteoarthritis (29%) than rheumatoid arthritis (20%).
  • The most common CAT used was herbal therapy (83%), followed by exercise (22%), massage (12%), acupuncture (3%), yoga and meditation (3%) and (3%).
  • Just under a quarter of the patients using CAT (24%) sought medical care because of possible side effects, but they were not serious and were reversible. The most common side effects included skin problems (16%) and gastrointestinal problems (9%).
  • Just under a quarter of the patients using CAT (24%) sought because of possible side effects, but they were not serious and were reversible. The most common side effects included skin problems (16%) and (9%).
  • The majority did not tell their healthcare provider about their CAT use (59%).
  • CAT users were asked to rate the amount of pain they felt and the percentage who said that they experienced no pain rose from 12% to 43% after CAT use. The number who slept all night rose from 9% to 66%.
  • CAT users also reported an improvement in daily activities. The percentage who said that their pain did not limit them at all rose from 3% to 12% and the percentage who said they could do everything, but with pain, rose from 26% to 52%.

"CAT use is increasing and this study shows that it provided self-reported benefits for patient with rheumatoid arthritis and " says Professor Alaaeddine.

"It is, however, important that patients discuss CAT use with their healthcare practitioner and that they are made aware of possible side effects, in particular the possible interactions between herbal and prescribed drugs."

Explore further: Bartonella infection associated with rheumatoid illnesses in humans

More information: Journal of Clinical Nursing. 21, pp3198. (November 2012). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04169.x

Related Stories

Bartonella infection associated with rheumatoid illnesses in humans

April 23, 2012
A bacterium historically associated with cat scratch fever and transmitted predominately by fleas may also play a role in human rheumatoid illnesses such as arthritis, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

A new cat in adulthood can up your allergy risk

December 28, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- According to a new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, getting a cat for the first time as an adult can nearly double your chances of developing allergies to the cat dander.

Assessment of COPD exacerbation severity with the COPD Assessment Test

January 27, 2012
Exacerbation severity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be reliably assessed with the COPD Assessment Test (CAT), according to a new study from the UK.

New attack on pain

August 21, 2012
A research team from the University of Melbourne is working on a new therapy that can potentially control the pain caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Recommended for you

Key discoveries offer significant hope of reversing antibiotic resistance

October 23, 2017
Resistance to antibiotics is becoming increasingly prevalent and threatens to undermine healthcare systems across the globe. Antibiotics including penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems are known as β-lactams and are ...

Novel therapies for multidrug-resistant bacteria

October 23, 2017
During this innovative study published in PLOS One, researchers found that novel classes of compounds, such as metal-complexes, can be used as alternatives to or to supplement traditional antibiotics, which have become ineffective ...

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

October 20, 2017
In 2004, pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, the number was less than 1 million.

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

October 20, 2017
Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

Migraines may be the brain's way of dealing with oxidative stress

October 19, 2017
A new perspective article highlights a compelling theory about migraine attacks: that they are an integrated mechanism by which the brain protects and repairs itself. Recent insightful findings and potential ways to use them ...

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.