The English commonly combine CAM with prescription drugs.

Let’s compare these findings by Prof. Ernst and colleagues to CAM use in other countries.

First, the details.

  • Data were obtained from the Health Survey for England 2005, a national household survey that included questions on CAM use.
  • There were 7630 respondents (household response rate 71%).

And, the results.

  • Lifetime prevalence of CAM use was 44%.
  • Prevalence of CAM use in the past year was 26%.
  • 12% of respondents had consulted a practitioner in the preceding 12 months.
  • Most commonly used therapies:
    • Massage
    • Aromatherapy
    • Acupuncture
  • 29% of respondents taking prescription drugs had used CAM in the last 12 months.
  • Characteristics of people significantly more likely to use CAM:
    • Women
    • University educated
    • Suffering from anxiety or depression
    • Poorer mental health
    • Lower levels of perceived social support
    • People consuming at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “These data serve as a valuable reminder to medical practitioners to ask patients about CAM use and should be routinely collected to facilitate prioritization of the research agenda in CAM.”

The reported prevalence of CAM use varies widely among countries.

For example…

  • The use of CAM in Japan is reportedly 76%.
  • In New Zealand, the 1-year use of CAM is 70%.
  • In Brunei Darussalam, 21% will used CAM over 12 months.
  • A survey of members of a managed care organization in Minnesota reported that 42% used at least one CAM therapy.

8/13/10 10:19 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.