CAM Therapies and MS: Guidelines Issued by AAN
The American Academy of Neurology has issued guidelines and recommendations on the use of complementary and alternative medical therapies in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The guideline sought to address the following questions:
- Do CAM therapies reduce specific symptoms and prevent relapses or disability?
- Can CAM therapies worsen MS or cause serious adverse effects (AEs)?
- Can CAM therapy use interfere with MS disease-modifying therapies?
Overall, studies on ginko biloba, cannabis, low-fat diet with fish oil supplementation, Cari Loder regimen, and bee sting therapy were either inconclusive or found to be in effective in reducing MS symptoms and preventing relapses. Reflexology could be effective for reducing paresthesia associated with MS and magnetic therapy may be helpful in reducing MS fatigue (but not reducing depression in RRMS).
As long as these therapies are used under the supervision of a medical professional, are safe, not cost prohibitive, and beneficial to the patients, CAM therapies can be used as part of a comprehensive MS treatment plan. Patients should be aware that the interaction between CAM therapies and disease-modifying pharmacological treatment is primarily unknown and efficacy can vary widely.