Objectives: To investigate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use amongst a cohort of osteoarthritis (OA) sufferers and to explore reasons for use. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess CAM use and its relationship with self-rated health status, patient knowledge of OA and attitudes towards OA management. Results: Sixty-nine percent of respondents (95% CI, 64%-73%) reported that they had tried CAM, with little difference between age groups and genders. Patients who had a better knowledge of their condition and excellent self-rated health were more likely to use CAM. An aversion to the side effects of conventional medicine, failure to engage in exercise, and a belief in the efficacy of CAM were the principal factors underlying use. Conclusion: As CAM use is a key component of the self-management strategies for a substantial proportion of Australians with OA, users need to be more fully informed about evidence of efficacy.
- Complementary and alternative medicine