Research: BENSOUSSAN and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 138


BENSOUSSAN and co-workers, Service d’Hepato-Gastroenterologie, Hopital Robert Debre, Reims, France, have surveyed the use of CAM therapies amongst patients with inflammatory bowel disease in France.


30% to 50% of American patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have been reported to use Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM). There is no data in France. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of CAM use and the reasons in a French population of patients with IBD.


An anonymous postal survey was carried out with a questionnaire mailed to all the patients with IBD, 16 to 79 year-old, followed-up in a public and a private medical centre of Reims, between January 2001 and December 2003.


The final sample included 447 patients; 325 (72.7%) returned the questionnaire. Of these, 219 (67.4%) had Crohn’s disease, 94 (28.8%) ulcerative colitis and 12 (3.7%) indeterminate colitis. 69 patients (21.2%) reported CAM use for IBD. The average number of CAM therapies used simultaneously was 2.9. The most frequently used treatment was Homeopathy (40.6%), followed by Magnetism (34.8%) and Acupuncture (33.3%). The majority of patients (74.8%) never talked about CAM use with their IBD physician. Multivariate analysis showed that the factors significantly associated with CAM use were female gender (odds ratio =3.5), the low level of confidence in their doctor (OR=4.8) and the gathering of information about their disease (OR=4.6).


21% of patients with IBD are using CAM, most of the time without talking about it with their physician. The quality of the relationship between the patient and their physician and female sex, more than the perceived severity of the disease, were the main determinants of CAM use.


Bensoussan M et al.  Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with inflammatory bowel disease: results from a postal survey. Gastroenterologie Clinique et Biologique 30 (1): 14-23, Jan 2006.

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