Despite the growing number of disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), a major gap remains when it comes to treatments that are both safe and effective in the long term. So it is no surprise that many MS patients turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to try to reduce the disease burden. These treatments, however, are not without their own unique risks — especially since CAM is largely unregulated and inadequately studied.
In order to provide guidance to neurologists and their patients, the AAN Guideline Development Subcommittee conducted a comprehensive review of the available literature (from 1970 to 2013) on CAM therapies for MS. The review appeared in the March 25 issue of Neurology.
“The AAN recognized that people with MS tend to use CAM therapy quite frequently, but that there was a lack of scientifically validated information or educational materials for providers to educate themselves or their patients in a systematic way,” said study author Vijayshree Yadav, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Oregon Health and Sciences University Multiple Sclerosis Center. In an interview with Neurology Today, she discussed the new recommendations — their practical applications, unexpected findings, and remaining research needs.