THURSDAY, June 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Patients with psoriasis frequently use complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) because traditional medications failed or caused side effects, according to a research letter published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Emily C. Murphy, from the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined the types of CAMs used and motivations for using CAM among patients with psoriasis. A total of 219 patients completed the survey.

The researchers found that 41 percent of patients reported using alternative therapies. Patients who considered their psoriasis to be severe had higher utilization (50 percent versus 33.6 percent among those who considered their psoriasis to be nonsevere). Overall, 39.5 percent of respondents reported using complementary therapies, and women were more likely than men to use complementary therapies (45.6 versus 26.5 percent). The most often-cited reason for CAM use was that traditional medications did not help or caused side effects; care access was reported as a reason by only 4 percent. There was variation in CAM use by gender, with more men than women using vitamins, Dead Sea bath salts, and cupping, while more women used herbals/botanicals and yoga. Overall, 42.7 percent of patients would recommend CAMs to others.

“CAMs are part of our patients’ armament. Educational initiatives that enable physicians to discuss evidence-based CAMs with patients may improve patient satisfaction and outcomes,” the authors write.

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