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Women's magazines give 'dangerous' complementary medicines advice

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Articles on complementary medicines in women’s lifestyle and health magazines are overwhelmingly written by contributors with no medical qualifications, and do not take account of dangerous drug and herb interactions, according to research published in Nursing Times.

The research looked at 150 articles on complementary or alternative medicine, published in 30 magazines with a focus on women’s lifestyle issues and health.

Of the 150 articles, 131 recommended complementary and alternative medicine to treat particular conditions or symptoms, and were written by contributors with no medical qualifications.

The researchers were particularly concerned about advice being issued without due regard for potential drug and herb interactions, and said there was “considerable concern in relation to the proliferation of potentially dangerous information”.

The research concluded that magazine coverage came with “potential for harm”, and said nurses should be alert to the risks of patients accessing “many and varied” sources of medical information.

The authors recommended further exploration of their concerns, and re-evaluation of journalists’ code of conduct.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • very interesting article, partly as its not a shameless trashing of complementary therapists for a change. As a CAM trained therapist myself I feel I have an advantage with a medical background as well, which incidentally a lot of CAM therapists do, or the equivalent, particularly if trained abroad where it is mandatory. It is good to highlight this area of concern and encourage responsibility to be taken by the authors (GP's included) rather than restriction imposed as a knee jerk response. It is also worth highlighting the iatrogenic cases of actual injury done by the medical profession to gain some kind of balance to the dicussion I feel, whilst supporting the inherent right of the indivual to choose. It is only recently that information and access to educational resource has become so widely available and the push for self responsibility in terms of one's own health. It seems a a sensible and healthy perspective to want to research what options are available and effective without causing further harm.

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