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A preference to use CAM before seeking medical advice may be harming patients with inflammatory arthritis.
By Scott Gavura onNovember 16, 2017, posted to Science Based Medicine
Several weeks ago I summarized the evidence that demonstrates that when you delay cancer chemotherapy and substitute alternative medicine, you die sooner. Thank you to the tireless Edzard Ernst, who identified non-cancer evidence that demonstrates how choosing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) instead of real medicine, can cause harm. In this case, the example is early inflammatory arthritis (EIA), and what was studied was the relationship between CAM use, and the delay to initiation of medical therapy. Time is of the essence with inflammatory arthritis, as there are medications that can reduce the risk of permanent joint damage. This new paper adds to the accumulated evidence to show that CAM, while it is commonly thought to be harmless, can indeed harm – not only from direct effects, but also from delaying the initiation of proper, effective medical treatment.