Study finds alternative medicines are underreported in osteoporosis patients

A recent study shows that most complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is not being reported to primary care physicians, which is important as CAMs can have possible clinical interactions, the Irish Medical Times reports.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, of more than 200 osteoporosis patients found that over half were using CAMs. Multivitamins were the most frequently used CAMs, followed by accupuncture, glucosamine, tai chi and yoga. Overall, 73 percent of CAM users did not consult their physician before starting medication and over 23 percent said their treating specialist was unaware of their CAM use.

CAM users were more likely to be of Asian country descent, have more frequent clinic visits, higher rates of university education and worse lumbar spine T-scores.

The authors said it was a concern that previous research had shown that underlying clinical conditions could be worsened by the use of unconventional therapies. For example, a study had found that glucosamine, which may cause insulin resistance, was being used by almost a quarter of subjects with diabetes.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis in the U.S., the National Osteoporosis Foundation reports.