Background: Studies from Europe reveal that a large percentage of patients with atopic dermatitis use some form of complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of their skin disease. There are no studies from the United States that examine the prevalence and types of complementary and alternative medicine use among patients with atopic dermatitis. Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use and the patterns of this use among atopic dermatitis patients referred to a university clinic. Methods: Using a self-administered questionnaire, investigators performed a cross-sectional survey of 70 consecutive patients diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. Results: Of the patients surveyed, 50.4% used some form of complementary and alternative medicine for the management of their skin disease. Common motivating factors were dissatisfaction with conventional treatment and frustration with the chronic nature of the condition. Vitamin supplementation and herbal creams were the most common alternative treatments used. Conclusion: The significant percentage of patients seeking alternative care for atopic dermatitis underscores the need for physicians to be familiar with alternative therapies for skin disease.
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