With increasing prevalence of life style disorders, the US population is shifting towards the eastern trends. i.e. use of complementary and alternative medicines. Major reason behind this paradigm shift is because of the belief that these medicines are safe. Whereas the medical science says that one cannot claim safety of any kind of medicine without proper research. This debate has lead to a new area that is known as evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.
What is evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine?
Complementary and alternative medicines are used to complement or replace the allopathic medicines, mainly to reduce the risk of side effects. However, evidences of their safety and efficacy are poor. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine is originated from the alternative therapies like Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Unani system and has well established data for its safety and effectiveness in the conditions.
Characteristics:Mechanism of action is well defined.Strengths and concentration to be used are standardized. There is enough evidence of effectiveness to support its use in the proposed condition. There is adequate information to decide the dosage in which the medicine is effective. There is a proper dosing schedule to have the maximum benefits. The information regarding side effects is well documented. Interactions with other regular medicines which may be required to be ingested simultaneously are studied.
Benefits: Patient knows what he is taking. The probable outcome after taking the medicine is known, making it a safer alternative. Doctors can guide patients regarding precautions required while taking such medicines. A doctor can warn the patients to look for sign of any adverse events. If any adverse drug reaction occurs, it can be resolved immediately because of well established information.
Few examples of evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine
1. St. John’s wart for depression
2. Turmeric or curcumin for inflammation
3. Boswellia Serrata for arthritis
4. Co enzyme Q10 for fatigue and weakness