Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with cluster headache: results of a multi-centre headache clinic survey.
Complement Ther Med. 2008 Aug;16(4):220-7. Epub 2007 Jul 2. PMID: 18638713
Headache Centre, INI Grottaferrata, Rome, Italy. email@example.com
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the rates, pattern, satisfaction with, and presence of predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in a clinical population of patients with cluster headache (CH).
DESIGN AND SETTING: One hundred CH patients attending one of three headache clinics were asked to undergo a physician-administered structured interview designed to gather information on CAM use.
RESULTS: Past use of CAM therapies was reported by 29% of the patients surveyed, with 10% having used CAM in the previous year. Only 8% of the therapies used were perceived as effective, while a partial effectiveness was reported in 28% of CAM treatments. The most common source of recommendation of CAM was a friend or relative (54%). Approximately 62% of CAM users had not informed their medical doctors of their CAM use. The most common reason for deciding to try a CAM therapy was that it offered a "potential improvement of headache" (44.8%). Univariate analysis showed that CAM users had a higher income, had a higher lifetime number of conventional medical doctor visits, had consulted more headache specialists, had a higher number of CH attacks per year, and had a significantly higher proportion of chronic CH versus episodic CH. A binary logistic regression analysis was performed and two variables remained as significant predictors of CAM use: income level (OR=5.7, CI=1.6-9.1, p=0.01), and number of attacks per year (OR=3.08, CI=1.64-6.7, p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that CH patients, in their need of and quest for care, seek and explore both conventional and CAM approaches, even though only a very small minority finds them very satisfactory.