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European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products


Reducing the need for antibiotics with CAM

Jun 29, 2018

Findings from a ground-breaking European research initiative looking at the role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in reducing the need for antibiotics were presented at a conference in Brussels on 6 June. A team of scientists from seven countries reported that the contribution of CAM treatment strategies to reducing the use of antibiotics is promising and supported by an increasing amount of evidence. CAM treatments have a role to play in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. The authors concluded that CAM treatments could well be integrated in strategies for treatment which delay the prescription of antibiotics.

This work was carried out within the context of the European One Health action plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR),  a key objective of which is to boost research, development and innovation by closing current knowledge gaps, providing novel solutions and tools to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Use of effective and safe non-antibiotic treatments of infections is one of the strategies to support appropriate use of antibiotics. One such treatment is CAM, which aims at strengthening human and animal resilience to infections. In order better to understand the contribution of CAM to the reduction of antibiotic prescription and use, the topic was addressed by a research network project under the Joint Programme Initiative for AntiMicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR). It was supported by ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

The first findings of the network were presented in Brussels at the conference, organised by EUROCAM, the association uniting the European organisations representing CAM patients and trained CAM health professionals. Scientists from several European universities presented the available evidence supporting the CAM contribution, including antibiotic prescription rates in conventional and CAM GP practices; safety and effectiveness of CAM treatment strategies for respiratory tract and other infections; and a first concept decision-making tool for health professionals and patients in primary care, enabling the larger community of health professionals to make use of therapeutic options from the field of CAM and to provide patients with the trusted advice to support their choice for a specific CAM treatment. They also presented and discussed the short- and long-term challenges for the project and for further consideration of the use of CAM treatments for upper respiratory tract infections.