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Most Patients Do Not Disclose Complementary Medicine Use

Lack of inquiry from providers, fear of disapproval, belief CM is safe among reasons for nondisclosure

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Just one-third of users of biologically based complementary medicine (CM) disclose their use to traditional health care providers, according to a review published online Feb. 7 in Scientific Reports.

Hope Foley, from the University of Technology Sydney, and colleagues identified 14 observational studies published between 2003 and 2016 that included disclosure rates of biologically based CM.

The researchers found that overall disclosure rates varied from 7 percent to 80 percent, but meta-analysis showed a 33 percent disclosure rate for biologically based CM. Lack of inquiry from medical providers, fear of provider disapproval, perception of disclosure as unimportant, belief that providers lacked CM knowledge, lack of time, and belief that CM was safe were all cited as reasons for nondisclosure. In contrast, inquiry from medical providers, belief that providers would support CM use, belief that disclosure was important for safety, and belief that providers would give advice about CM were all reasons for disclosure. Inconsistent definitions of CM and lack of a standard measure for disclosure contributed to substantial heterogeneity between studies.

“This is a topic which should be treated with gravity; it is central to wider patient management and care in contemporary clinical settings, particularly for primary care providers acting as gatekeeper in their patients’ care,” the authors write.

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