Manage Your Liver
Q:

Why don’t most doctors recommend complementary and alternative medicine?

Why don’t most doctors recommend complementary and alternative medicine?
A:

We received a case like this:
A hepatitis C patient wanted to try an alternative therapy his friend recommended. His friend’s results were remarkable and there were no side effects. His liver function test also indicated that the therapy effectively improves liver health. He asked his doctor if he could try the therapy, but his doctor does not recommend it. The patient thought the alternative therapy was worth understanding but the doctor thinks otherwise. Why is this?

We have done some research on this topic and we found that usually, doctors do not actively involve in the provision of alternative medicine or therapies. Here are some major reasons:

 

Lack of knowledge:
According to a survey, most healthcare professionals are unfamiliar with alternative medicine e.g. traditional Chinese medicine, western herbal supplements, etc. The primary reason for this was that alternative medicine was not taught to them in medical schools. Doctors were unsure where to find such information, and how to assess or use such information even if they were able to find it. Therefore, when asked about alternative therapies, they are often reluctant or do not know enough to respond. [1]

 

Limited research to show efficacy and safety:
Alternative medicine often do not have any or sufficient scientific proof, e.g. research or clinical studies, hence doctors generally do not recognize these kinds of therapy. Alternative medicine which is natural and safe originally may also cause adverse effects if misused or contraindications if combined with other medications or treatment. [2]

 

Avoiding unnecessary responsibilities:
Generally, when a doctor suggests a patient to use a certain conventional medication, even if there are side effects or if the results are not ideal, they will not be held accountable. However, if a doctor actively recommends an alternative therapy and the patient is harmed during the course, they may be held responsible. [3]

 

Rules and regulations:
Sometimes, regulations by health insurance companies prohibit doctors from suggesting alternative treatments as a condition of their employment. [4] In addition, it also quite common for doctors to prescribe certain medications because of agreements with pharmaceutical companies. [5]

 

Although doctors have their own considerations, it is inevitable that some alternative therapies are scientifically proven to be effective and safe. The main concern for medical professionals and the general public is how to differentiate the good from the bad, the trustworthy and the fraudulent.

Disclaimer:
  • * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.
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