Update: Prevalence of CAM use

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, in the UK, updated previous systematic reviews.

First, the details.

  • 51 reports from 49 surveys of 12-month prevalence conducted in 15 countries were reviewed.
    • There were 32 estimates of 12-month prevalence of any CAM use.
    • There were 33 estimates of 12-month prevalence of visits to CAM practitioners.
  • Quality of the reports was variable, with 59% meeting at least four quality criteria.

And, the results.

  • There was evidence of substantial CAM use in the 15 countries surveyed.
  • There was no evidence to suggest a change in 12-month prevalence of CAM use since the previous systematic reviews were published in 2000.
  • Estimates of 12-month prevalence of any CAM use (excluding prayer) showed remarkable stability.
    • Australia
      • 49%: 1993
      • 52%: 2000
      • 52%: 2004
    • USA
      • 36%: 2002
      • 38%: 2007

The bottom line?

With the apparent increase in awareness and acceptance of CAM options, it’s interesting that CAM use has not increased.

The authors believe that governments should get more involved to improve the quality of these surveys.

Why do the authors think government intrusion is needed? Considering the trillions of dollars of debt across countries and the potential for conflicts of interest with respect to national healthcare, this doesn’t seem like the best use of our money.

10/16/12 19:59 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.