Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Complementary and Alternative Medicines (part 3)
Not all complementary and alternative medicine products are necessarily exotic or unusual: many have established a place in relatively mainstream medicine. In this edition of Ward Clinical Pearls, we look at some of the products that are relatively widespread in the aged care industry.
- Fish oil capsules are widely prescribed, reasons for use including management of some forms of arthritis and a possible therapeutic benefit in preventing the progression of ischaemic heart disease. There is some evidence to suggest that fish oil supplements may reduce the serum concentrations of triglycerides, it remains to be proven that they definitively reduce the likelihood of heart attacks or stroke.
- Glucosamine is another popular supplement product that is prescribed by some medical practitioners as an adjuvant treatment for osteoarthritis. To suggest that glucosamine may assist in improving pain and joint function although the evidence is conflicting.
- Cranberry extract products have been used for some time now with the purpose of altering the composition of urine such that the likelihood of urinary tract infections is reduced. Although this type of product is widely prescribed recent evidence suggests that it may not have a pronounced effect in preventing urinary tract infections.
- St John’s Wort is derived from a flowering plant and is known to have some efficacy in the management of depression. Although this product has stronger evidence to support its efficacy, it has the potential to be involved in serious drug interactions that may produce serious medical consequences.
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.