Monday, February 12, 2007

Older Americans and Complementary/Alternative Medicine

Individuals aged 50 and older tend to have a higher rate of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, but tend not to discuss CAM use with their physicians. NCCAM conducted a phone survey of 1,559 people aged 50 and older showed that 30% did not discuss CAM use because they did not they should. Women more than men tended to discuss CAM use, and individuals making $75,000 or more were 6% more likely to talk to their physicians about CAM use than people with lower incomes.

There is the risk of drug interactions with some herbal remedies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Public Health Advisory citing a paper in the (Journal of the American Medical Association) showing drug interactions between indinavir, a protease inhibitor used to treat HIV infections and St. John's wort. St. John's wort is often recommended in treating depression and anxiety.

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