One in three complementary medicine (CM) users do not disclose their CM use to their medical providers, according to new research published in Scientific Reports.
Researchers in Australia examined data from 86 studies reporting disclosure rates and/or reasons for disclosure or non-disclosure of CM use to medical providers. Fourteen studies were selected for meta-analyses to assess rates of and reasons for CM use disclosure to medical providers.
Overall disclosure rates varied from 7-80 per cent, with the meta-analyses showing a 33 per cent disclosure rate for biologically-based CM.
There were a number of reasons patients did not disclose their use of CM, including a lack of inquiry from medical providers, fear of provider disapproval, perception of disclosure as unimportant, belief providers lacked CM knowledge, lacking time, and belief CM was safe. Reasons for disclosure included belief providers would support CM use, belief disclosure was important for safety, and belief providers would give advice about CM.
“The initiation of conversations about CM with patients and provision of consultations characterised by person-centred, collaborative communication by medical providers may contribute towards increased disclosure rates and mitigate against the potential direct and indirect risks of un-coordinated concurrent CM and conventional medical care,” the authors said.