Public Release: 

Evidence-based information about complementary and alternative medicine treatments now available

'The ACP Evidenced-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine' provides evidence of CAM effectiveness and safety, or lack thereof, for different medical conditions

American College of Physicians

PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 2009 -- More than one-third of Americans use complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). The vast majority of patients use CAM in addition to, rather than instead of, a conventional medical regimen.

With more and more conversations about CAM taking place at the point of care, "The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine" is a welcome resource for clinicians and patients.

"The book is a comprehensive analysis of CAM treatments that busy clinicians can use to incorporate evidence-based information into point-of-care discussions with patients," said co-editor Katherine Gundling, MD, FACP.

Organized according to medical condition, "The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine" focuses on the safety and efficacy of a full range of CAM therapies, providing "at-a-glance" answers to the questions clinicians are often asked.

"Patients tend to seek help from clinicians before starting a CAM therapy," said Bradly P. Jacobs, MD, MPH, a co-editor of the book. "This gives clinicians an opportunity to play a vital role in discussing the range of treatment options available, both conventional and CAM, based on the evidence for safety and effectiveness, cost, personal preferences, and individual circumstances."

To ensure that readers have quick-access to bottom-line recommendations after in-depth reviews of the research, every chapter includes tables that are concise and easy to read.

Chapter 1 addresses basic questions such as "What is CAM?", "Which patients are using CAM?", "What is the terminology that might be unfamiliar to doctors?", and "How does one evaluate evidence for CAM treatments?" Chapter 2 hones in on the practical implications of CAM in the office: "How can clinicians approach this topic with competence and caring?" Even beyond direct patient interaction, there are legal, insurance, and regulatory issues that demand attention, and these are addressed in this chapter as well.

Chapters 3 to 15 cover the common conditions that characterize most patient-clinician interactions. Although patients might ask about an entire system of practice ("Would Traditional Chinese medicine help?"), or a specific treatment ("Does Echinacea help colds?"), most frequently these questions are asked in the context of a particular health concern ("What will help my osteoarthritis?"). This problem-based approach focuses on the immediate concern of the patient and whether complementary therapies can be of benefit or cause harm.

The editors incorporate a state-of-the-art approach toward evaluating the quality of evidence for CAM therapies based on the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working group, a system endorsed by the American College of Physicians, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ), the World Health Organization, and others.


"The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine" can be ordered online at The book is also available at all major booksellers, both in stores and online, and electronically at To order by phone, call 800-523-1546, ext 2600 (M-F, 9:00 a.m.-5 p.m. ET).


"Finally, we have a comprehensive, evidence-based textbook that clinicians can rely on when counseling their patients about complementary and alternative medical therapies. In-depth reviews of the research are thoroughly digested into concise summary tables, placing key information at the reader's fingertips. This book is perfect for the busy healthcare professional who needs a practical and evidence-based guide to CAM practices. No doubt, it will be used time and time again in your daily clinical practice." -- Brian Berman, MD, Professor and Founding Director for the Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine

"A practical, well researched summary that will help integrate unconventional healing approaches into the mainstream healthcare system." -- Mehmet Oz, MD, Vice Chair and Professor of Surgery, NY Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University

"This edition provides a valuable and indeed essential compendium of a broad range of CAM therapies and evidence of their efficacy and safety, or lack thereof, for different clinical applications. It includes practical recommendations that the busy clinician can use in considering the responsible use of CAM therapies as part of a comprehensive approach toward patient care." -- Ralph Snyderman, MD, Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University

"This book is a must-read for healthcare professionals interested in using an evidence-based approach toward integrating alternative therapies into clinical practice. Drawing on exhaustive research reviews, the authors present their material in an easy-to-read format, including summary tables in each chapter with bottom-line recommendations organized by treatment and condition. I believe this book will be of great help to busy healthcare professionals who need scientifically sound guidance about CAM practices." -- Andrew Weil, MD, Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona

About the Editors

Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, is Founding Medical Director, Matowih Center for Health Living, Sausalito, California; and Attending Physician, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.

Katherine Gundling, MD, FACP, is Associate Clinical Professor of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians ( is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults.

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