Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disabling and progressive neurological disease. Some patients find the conventional treatment disappointing and tend to seek salvation in traditional and complementary medicine (T & CM), hoping for better outcomes. This study aims to assess the prevalence of T & CM use among MS patients, understand its perception and misconceptions among MS patients, and assess the level of awareness regarding its use among MS patients.
Methods: A cross-sectional study targeting MS patients in Saudi Arabia was conducted from January 2020 to November 2020. A total of 164 MS patients participated. Electronic self-administered questionnaires collected the data through social media.
Results: More than half of the MS patients reported using conventional treatment (71.3%), 14.6% of the MS patients used a combination of both conventional and T & CM, only 3.7% used T & CM alone, while 10% reported taking no treatment. However, 32.9% of patients had used T & CM at some point, with the majority (53.7%) using them in the first 5 years after diagnosis. Patients using conventional treatment (65.2%) were more satisfied than patients using traditional treatment (48.1%).
Conclusion: MS patients in Saudi Arabia were more satisfied with conventional treatment methods; thus, only 32.9% had used T & CM since they were diagnosed with MS. Diet, vitamin supplements, and herbal treatments were the most used options T & CM. However, patients reported a lack of guidance by T & CM providers compared to conventional treatment providers. Therefore, T & CM providers need to guide MS patients regarding their treatment regimen better and provide better support for patients who may consider seeking other treatment modalities.
MS, multiple sclerosis, traditional medicine, complementary medicine, perception
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