Use of complementary and alternative medicine by Korean patients with Parkinson's disease

Sung R. Kim, Tai Y. Lee, Mi S. Kim, Myoung C. Lee, Sun J. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Many patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) often utilize complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). We aimed to survey the prevalence, spectrum of use, and factors related to utilization of CAM in patients with PD in Korea. Patients and methods: Between 15 December 2005 and 30 April 2006, we studied 123 patients with PD who volunteered to be interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires. Results: Ninety-four (76%) patients had used CAM. The mean cost of CAM paid by patients (out-of-pocket costs) was 102.3 US Dollars (USD) per month, while medical costs of treatment for PD paid by patients (out-of-pocket costs) averaged 72.8 USD per month. Patients using CAM sought to improve motor symptoms (57.6%), fatigue (19.6%), pain (4.3%), constipation (5.4%) or specified no single reason (13.0%). The spectrum of CAM use included oriental medicines (76.6%), traditional food (44.7%), non-prescribed drugs (31.9%), traditional therapies (7.4%), massage (7.4%) and behavioral therapy (7.4%). Factors related to current use of CAM were disease duration, degree of education, and daily levodopa equivalent dose. In a logistic regression analysis, the duration of PD was a significant factor for CAM use. Conclusions: These results suggest that a high proportion of Korean PD patients employed CAM, associated with high costs and serious side effects in some patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Complementary and alternative medicines
  • Oriental medicine
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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