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Perspectives

Complementary medicines and diabetes: benefits, safety and risk

Trisha Dunning
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Abstract

People with diabetes often use complementary medicines (CMs) for a range of reasons. GPs have a responsibility to consider, ask about and document CM use as part of optimal diabetes care. The quality of the evidence to  support CM use varies among studies. Personalised care and quality use of medicines are useful frameworks  for making decisions about all types of medicines.

Key Points

  • Diabetes is an independent predictor of use of complementary medicines (CMs).
  • People may not disclose use of CMs often because clinicians do not ask about it.
  • Benefit, burden and risk apply to all medicines. People with diabetes assess these issues differently from clinicians and relate better to qualitative explanations than statistical information.
  • The effects of CMs should be monitored and documented as part of the overall medicines regimen.
  • Quality use of medicines, personalised care, shared decision-making and integrative medicine principles are useful frameworks to enhance benefit and safety and reduce risks of CM use.

Figures

© bit24/stock.adobe.com
© bit24/stock.adobe.com