Abstract| Volume 37, 101606, January 2020

Patterns of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adult Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A Cross-Sectional Study

      Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes demyelination of the central nervous system. No treatment has shown to be completely effective, thus, the tendency for patients with MS to use non-conventional therapies like Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) might increase. The study aims to explore the pattern of CAM use among patients with MS at a tertiary health care center in Saudi Arabia.
      This is a questionnaire-based observational cross-sectional study that targeted adult patients diagnosed with MS at a tertiary care center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The study sample size was 176 patients, and consecutive non-probability sampling technique was used to approach them during their appointments. An Arabic validated questionnaire was used to evaluate patients’ use of CAM.
      The mean age was 34.6 ± 10.9 years, and the majority of patients were females. Eighty-nine percent of the participants reported using CAM at least once. Praying was the most frequent modality (60%), followed by supplication (59%), Ruqia (52%), and vitamins (44%). Symptomatic improvement was reported by 49 (27.8%) of complementary medicine users and 81 (46%) of alternative medicine users.
      The study found a high prevalence of CAM utilization among Saudi adult patients with MS exceeding internationally reported rates. Although some patients described some improvement in their symptoms, further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of CAM.