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 1)
In Australia, the term complementary medicine is used to refer to a range of therapies that can be as diverse as acupuncture, aromatherapy, ear candling, some forms of massage and naturopathy. Sometimes referred to as CAMs, this style of treatment can include products herbs, vitamins, minerals, and some nutritional supplements.
- These products are regulated as medicines under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. A product is defined under the act if it contains certain active ingredients such as amino acids, essential oils, plant/herbal material, microbes (except for vaccines), minerals, non-human animal material (such as dried material, bone and cartilage, fats and oils, substances produced by bees), and vitamins and related compounds.
- In Austalia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration conducts an assessment of the extent of risk associated with products, requiring CAMs to be either registered or listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). In addition, complementary products must also satisfy requirements under a wide range of other provisions such as manufacturing standards, quarantine and biodiversity regulations, food standards and others.
- The use of CAMs in Australia and indeed around the world has become very pervasive.In some countries and cultural groups, CAMs form the basis for systematic systems of medical treatment, and are held in high regard by the wider community. Particularly in view of the multicultural nature of Australian society, it is reasonable to expect that these products will be encountered in a wide variety of settings, including residential aged care.
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.