USE OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE BY ELDERLY CANCER PATIENTS AND RISK OF DRUG-DRUG INTERACTIONS. M. Berretta, R. Di Francia Vol.4 (2019), issue 1, pag. 17 - 19
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), USA, the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), include a wide range of products: nonbiological interventions (e.g., prayer, meditation, music therapy, massage) and biological interventions (e.g., herbs also known as botanicals, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and traditional Chinese medicine), which are outside of the mainstream Western medicine.
Interest in CAM has grown fastly in the last decade. Some of the reasons for the increased interest include massif internet marketing diffusion, dissatisfaction with mainstream medicine, and a desire of patients to have more control over medical decisions.
Recent data indicates that CAM is used to treat a wide range of late-life health conditions, especially chronic or long-term ailments such as arthritis and pain, diabetes, hypertension, depression, anxiety and sleeps disorders.
In addition to these specific health disorders, CAM has also been shown to be used by elderly people for the general purpose of health maintenance and for improving their quality of life and well being.
In the collective imagination CAM are considered to be “natural” and, therefore, associated with low risk of toxicity and/or interactions. Risk associated with any health care is generally separated into direct and indirect risk.
The potential for an increased risk of drug–drug interactions and adverse drug reactions, andfactorssuchasagerelatedchangesinpharmacodynamics(PD)andpharmacokinetics (PK) must be considered. Physicians should be particularly vigilant for CAM use and polypharmacy in elderly cancer patients. Greater regulation and further research into CAM us in elderly patients is required to ensure quality and accountability and to increase awareness of potential benefits and interactions of CAM.