Objective. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is often painful and debilitating. Patients with RA are increasingly receiving complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). We aimed to identify the patient characteristics and disease-specific factors associated with Korean patients with RA who decide to start treatment with CAM. Methods. Among the total 5371 patients with RA in the KORean Observational study Network for Arthritis (KORONA), 2175 patients who had no experience with CAM were included in our study. In our study, we assessed the frequency of new incident CAM use, its patterns, and the predictive factors of new CAM use. Results. Of the 2175 patients, 229 patients (10.5%) newly started receiving CAM within a year of enrolling in the cohort. Of those who started treatment with CAM, 17.0% received only herbal medicine, 54.6% only acupuncture treatments (7.0% used a combination of both), and 21.4% "Other" (e.g., physical therapy and placental extract injections). Women (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.13-3.14) and patients with depression (OR 3.52, 95% CI 1.65-7.50) were significantly more likely to be treated with CAM. Regarding household types, patients who lived in an extended family (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.08-2.95) or as part of a couple (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.07-2.24) were more likely to be treated with CAM than patients living in a nuclear family. Conclusion. Our study found, within a year, an incidence rate of 10.5% for new CAM use among patients with no previous experience with CAM. Sex, depression, and household type were significantly associated with new CAM use.
- Complementary and alternative medicine Sex
- Rheumatoid arthritis