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Evidence-based information about complementary and alternative medicine treatments now available

PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 2009 -- More than one-third of Americans use complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). The vast majority of patients use CAM in addition to, rather than instead of, a conventional medical regimen.

With more and more conversations about CAM taking place at the point of care, "The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine" is a welcome resource for clinicians and patients.

"The book is a comprehensive analysis of CAM treatments that busy clinicians can use to incorporate evidence-based information into point-of-care discussions with patients," said co-editor Katherine Gundling, MD, FACP.

Organized according to medical condition, "The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine" focuses on the safety and efficacy of a full range of CAM therapies, providing "at-a-glance" answers to the questions clinicians are often asked.

"Patients tend to seek help from clinicians before starting a CAM therapy," said Bradly P. Jacobs, MD, MPH, a co-editor of the book. "This gives clinicians an opportunity to play a vital role in discussing the range of treatment options available, both conventional and CAM, based on the evidence for safety and effectiveness, cost, personal preferences, and individual circumstances."

To ensure that readers have quick-access to bottom-line recommendations after in-depth reviews of the research, every chapter includes tables that are concise and easy to read.

Chapter 1 addresses basic questions such as "What is CAM?", "Which patients are using CAM?", "What is the terminology that might be unfamiliar to doctors?", and "How does one evaluate evidence for CAM treatments?" Chapter 2 hones in on the practical implications of CAM in the office: "How can clinicians approach this topic with competence and caring?" Even beyond direct patient interaction, there are legal, insurance, and regulatory issues that demand attention, and these are addressed in this chapter as well.

Chapters 3 to 15 cover the common conditions that characterize most patient-clinician interactions. Although patients might ask about an entire system of practice ("Would Traditional Chinese medicine help?"), or a specific treatment ("Does Echinacea help colds?"), most frequently these questions are asked in the context of a particular health concern ("What will help my osteoarthritis?"). This problem-based approach focuses on the immediate concern of the patient and whether complementary therapies can be of benefit or cause harm.

The editors incorporate a state-of-the-art approach toward evaluating the quality of evidence for CAM therapies based on the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working group, a system endorsed by the American College of Physicians, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ), the World Health Organization, and others.


Contact: Steve Majewski
American College of Physicians

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