Use of complementary therapies in patients with Parkinson's disease in Singapore



To determine the frequency and spectrum of complementary therapy (CT) use and its association with sociodemographic or disease-specific characteristics among Asian patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) in Singapore, we interviewed 159 patients using a structured questionnaire. Sixty-one percent (95% CI = 55–67) of participants used at least one type of CT for PD, of which the most common were traditional medicine, acupuncture, and vitamins/health supplements. Among CT users, 40% (95% CI = 32–48) subjectively reported some improvement of their symptoms. However, only 16% informed their physicians of their use of CT. Due to unequal follow-up times, a survival analysis approach was adopted for statistical analysis. The rate of starting CT use was 1.2/100 person months. At 3 years after PD diagnosis, 48% had started using CT. Among a subgroup of participants, those with a baseline Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score of more than 16 were 2.5 times more likely to use CT compared to those with a baseline score of 16 or less (P = 0.031; 95% CI = 1.1–5.8). CT use was not associated with age of onset of PD or other sociodemographic factors. The use of CT is high among Asian PD patients. Patients with more severe motor dysfunction at onset are more likely to use CT. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society