Objective: To assess how often the patients in The Hospital for Sick Children's rheumatology clinic use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the type of CAM used.
Methods: Cross-sectional descriptive survey study in a tertiary care referral center.
Results: We found that 90 (64%) of 141 respondents used at least 1 form of CAM; 45 (50%) of these 90 used more than 1 form. Duration of illness was positively associated with the use of CAM; the difference in the mean length of illness between users (4.12 +/- 3.60 years) and nonusers (2.82 +/- 3.23 years) was 1.3 years (P = 0.04). Of the 41 respondents with more than 1 illness, 32 used CAM, compared with 57 of 96 who had only 1 illness (P = 0.036).
Conclusion: Health care providers must be aware of their patients' possible use of CAM, especially those with more than 1 illness.