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October 2021

Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 1997 Dec; 65(12): 555-61.

[The use of alternative medicine by multiple sclerosis patients--patient characteristics and patterns of use]

Winterholler M, Erbguth F, Neundörfer B.

Neurologische Klinik der Universitt Erlangen-Nrnberg.

The use of alternative medicine is growing in all Western countries. Little is known about the modalities and patterns of use of alternative medicine by patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analysed an anonymous questionnaire that was sent to and answered by 129 former inpatients who had multiple sclerosis diagnosed by typical clinical and laboratory findings. RESULTS: 82 of 129 patients (63.6%) have been using alternative therapies. They were treated with a total of 87 different alternative healing methods or substances. Some patients used up to 9 different methods. The mean duration of the alternative treatment was 2.6 (0-20) years. Most patients used homoeopathy (n = 35), herbs (29 different substances, 32 users), different relaxation methods like yoga (n = 38) and various diets (n = 21). The most important motivation to look for alternative medicine was the aim to participate actively in the healing process. Most patients thought that there was some positive effect from the alternative treatment but did not inform their general practitioner or neurologist about it. DISCUSSION: Like in other chronic diseases many MS-patients use alternative medicine. The experiences of these treatments forms part of the patient's coping with the disease.

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