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Complementary and Alternative Medicine 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Chapter:
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Author(s):

Elizabeth Huntoon

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190217518.003.0014
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date: 19 August 2019

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a broad area that has become popular with both patients and physicians alike. Most of the CAM practices are used together with conventional therapies and therefore have been called complementary to distinguish them from alternative practices. Most of the therapies under the heading of CAM are considered safe as adjuncts or alternative treatments by the medical profession for a variety of pain problems; however, one area deserves special consideration: herbal and vitamin preparations. Herbal supplement use has risen in the past few years and patients may fail to mention that they are taking these substances. This lack of disclosure (or our lack of inquiry about supplements) may put them at risk for herb–drug interaction. The popularity of CAM therapies may be due largely to their presumed safety, efficacy, cultural acceptability, and lesser side effects compared with prescription medications.

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