CAM use has not been a popular topic in mainstream medical research. Most medical research has been focused on drug development rather than patients who use CAM. However as more than 100 million citizens in the EU are regular CAM users this is an important issue for both patients and CAM researchers.
CAM is largely used in the treatment of chronic conditions, often as a mechanism for “trading off” the use of conventional prescription drugs with over the counter medicines (OTC) as well as through consultations with both registered and non-registered CAM practitioners. Complementary medicine is practiced widely by both doctors and non-medically qualified individuals within the EU.
One of the major challenges is to understand the different patterns of use in the EU member states. It is currently almost impossible to compare statistics on CAM use, demand and prevalence, because the available data is inconsistent and very variable; indeed for many EU states there are no data available.
The aim of WP4 is to address the prevalence of CAM use in Europe. We will take into account regional and national variations and create a summary of current information about CAM use and its trajectory. We will also identify the major conditions treated with CAM, based on existing literature, as well as suggest what future research might be valuable. We will also explore why patients choose CAM. As part of the task, we will translate an existing questionnaire into 3 European languages, developing this in order to create a standardised European CAM questionnaire.
The work in WP4 will be finished by the end of 2011.