What is the merit in Using Alternative or Complementary Medicine in Combination with Conventional, Science based, Medication, if any?

Even though the scientific consensus is that Alternative Therapies and Medicine lack scientific validation and therefore cannot be effective, more than 50% of the population of the world uses Alternative and complementary medicine.

Alternative and Complementary Medicine includes products and services, offered outside of the mainstream medical practices, things that are available for sale in the marketplace. Being advertised as treatments and medicine, people expect to also buy this in a pharmacy.

However, because it is not included in the conventional training of pharmacists, they do not feel confident in answering possible questions that could be asked. They feel that their training had not met their needs to be knowledgeable about alternatives.

There is growing evidence that Alternative medicine does have benefits, but for pharmacists to give advice and information regarding alternatives they need to obtain knowledge about such.

How do Pharmacies Integrate Alternative and Complementary Medicine in their Pharmacy Practice?

Obtain all alternative and complementary stock products and medicine from a reputable source and supplier.

Do not recommend any remedy or medicine that they are not sure and knowledgeable about or if its safety is in doubt.

Only offer advice on alternative medicines when suitable training has been undertaken.

Ask clients about their use of complementary and alternative medicines, questions and answers are a way of learning and gaining information.

Be aware of the possibility of adverse reactions and of potential interactive reactions taken together with conventional medicines.

It is a Pharmacists’ responsibility to always ensure that every product recommended is of an appropriate quality. With mainstream prescriptions written by licensed doctors prescribing medications that are approved and licensed through government, quality is relatively straightforward. Over the counter medicines will also have been subject to quality and safety assessments.

This is not the case with complementary medicines. There are not always assurances of the quality of these products. The sensible approach would seem to only recommend and stock products coming from reputable pharmaceutical distributing companies. Their products would have been subjected to in-house quality measures to ensure appropriate safety and quality.

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