Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used by one-half to three-fourths of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite this widespread use, CAM may not be discussed in the course of a conventional medical visit. When considered in the context of MS, CAM therapies have a wide range of risk-benefit profiles. Some CAM therapies, such as acupuncture, cranberry, vitamin D, tai chi, and yoga, are low risk and possibly beneficial. Other CAM therapies, such as immune-stimulating supplements, bee venom, and hyperbaric oxygen, are ineffective, dangerous, or unstudied. Providing access to information about the risks and benefits of CAM therapies may increase the quality of care that is provided to patients with MS.
Relationship Disclosure: Dr Bowling has received personal compensation for speaking engagements from Acorda Therapeutics Inc.; Biogen Idec; Bayer; Pfizer Inc.; EMD Serono, Inc.; and Teva Neuroscience.
Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Dr Bowling discusses unconventional medical therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, all of which are used in unlabeled ways.