Beliefs About Use of Complementary Health Approaches for Parkinson's Disease

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Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States, which requires ongoing medication therapy. Despite the high prevalence of complementary health approaches (CHA) being used among people with PD in several countries, little is known about the perceived effectiveness, safety, and risk related to use of CHA. The purpose of this study was to describe CHA users' beliefs about the effectiveness, safety, and risk of CHA. A subsample (n = 70) of participants who reported using CHA and who completed all 12 items of the section of participants' beliefs were taken from a larger study (n = 143) that described the proportion of individuals who used CHA to manage PD symptoms. Participants reported that CHAs are somewhat effective to control or manage PD symptoms and necessary for PD management. However, they disagreed on possible adverse effects of CHAs and their potential interactions with prescription medications. Participants were willing to share their CHA use with their doctors and/or nurses and had a neutral response to the costs of CHA. More scientific evidence on effectiveness and safety/risk of CHA is needed to assist individuals' informed decision about using CHA and allocation of their health care spending. Nurses and other health care professionals need to be aware of CHA users' beliefs about CHA used for PD and of the need for provision of adequate information and resources, including locating qualified CHA practitioners or databases of CHA.

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