Use of complementary and alternative medicine in nephrology: a review of RCTs

Uso delle medicine complementari in nefrologia: una revisione di studi randomizzati controllati (RTC)


Purpose: To evaluate and summarize the current evidence in the literature on the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the management of health problems in kidney patients. Methods: Randomized controlled trials in English were selected through PubMed, Medline, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CINAHL. There were no time limits on the research. Results: Thirty-four articles were selected for the review. Most of the studies were reported in 2013 and 2014 and were conducted in China. Multiple types of CAM used for various problems in kidney patients (pruritus, reduced respiratory capacity, poor quality of sleep, abnormal blood values, pain, anxiety) emerged from the analyzed studies. The most studied types of CAM were the herbs used in Chinese medicine that can help to control proteinuria, creatinine and hematuria, and to reduce the dose of traditional medicines; acupuncture, which can relieve pruritus and disturbed sleep; respiratory training, which increases the respiratory capacity and muscle strength; and Benson relaxation, which helps to improve pain and sleep. Conclusions: Although the evidence of the included studies is limited, CAM may be helpful for the treatment and control of health problems in kidney patients. To actually recommend its use, further studies are needed.

G Tec Nefrol Dial 2017; 29(3): 185 - 192





Lisa Bovo, Francesco Burrai, Fabiola Carossa

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