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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Increases

Patients turn to complementary and alternative medicine especially for unmet medical needs

MONDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use increased significantly between 2002 and 2007, and is more likely when access to conventional care is restricted in some way, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

Dejun Su, Ph.D. and Lifeng Li, M.P.H., from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, evaluated recent trends in CAM use by comparative analysis of data from the 2002 and 2007 National Health Interview Survey findings.

The researchers found that CAM use, especially provider-based therapies such as chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture, have developed significantly. Use of these therapies is more pronounced among non-Hispanic whites than among minority groups, further increasing the existing disparity between whites and minorities. Individuals were more likely to use CAM when conventional care was restricted in some way. In both 2002 and 2007, CAM use increased by patients who had unmet medical needs or delayed care due to costs.

"Findings from this study reinforce evidence on the connections between access to conventional medical care and CAM use. They point to the importance of the escalating cost of conventional medical care and the resulting increasingly restrictive access to medical care in the period from 2002 to 2007 as a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of CAM use in the period," the authors write.

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