CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Diabetes Management Should Consider Complementary and Alternative Medicine

New research suggests diabetes management should consider alternative health care. A review of the international health literature has shown nutritional supplements and herbal medicines are the most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies in diabetes. People with diabetes are risking their health by not discussing their use of complementary and alternative therapies with the health professionals managing their conventional treatment. Annie Chang, a PhD candidate in Griffith's School of Nursing, said while some products may have benefits for patients, they can also have side effects in their own right or interact with conventional medications. "Fenugreek for example, used as a supplement, may affect blood sugar levels but patients are already on other blood sugar lowering medications as well." While the prevalence of use varies widely between different countries (17-72%), her review suggests nearly half of people living with diabetes supplement their conventional medicines with some form of alternative therapy. Women, over 65-year-olds, those who had been living with diabetes for longer, and people interested in self management of their condition were the most likely to use alternative therapies. "People will tell their alternative practitioners that they are using Western medicines but the vast majority will not discuss their alternative therapies with a doctor or other healthcare professional," she said. Ms Chang, who has also surveyed more than 300 diabetics in Taiwan, said people feared their doctor would not be interested in discussing alternative medicines or that they might 'get into trouble' for taking them. "The evidence is that patients are using these products and may even reduce their conventional medicine doses and modify the timing of doses so they aren't taking both together." "While it might be impossible for Western medicine to learn all about complementary and alternative therapies, healthcare professionals do need to be included in discussions about them so we can document their use and be aware of any potential problems for our patients." The review was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing 2007; 58(4) 307-319. Adapted from a news release issued by Griffith University.
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The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), and Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).
Sponsorship Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.
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