How to deal with the use of herbs, foodsupplements and alternative therapies in society?

Lise-Marie Kinnaer


Tine Van Nieuwenhuyse, Hospital Pharmacy Department, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Lise-Marie Kinnaer, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, KU Leuven, Belgium

Practical details: 25 July 10h30 – 12h00 – room ALO 06.100


  • To develop recommendations that aim to support healthcare professionals in a patient-centred approach when questions and interest in alternative therapies arise
  • To gain insight in Patient perspectives and motives for taking herbs, food supplements and using alternative therapies and how healthcare professionals currently deal with this trend


The use of complementary and alternative herbals and medicines (CAHM) has grown substantially over the past decades. In 2008, a national survey in the US reported a use of CAHM in 38% of the adult population. For some types of CAHM, evidence is demonstrated. For others, there is currently little evidence or even no studies available showing their benefit. As healthcare professionals (HCP), we are confronted with patients using CAHM. Especially for herbs and food supplements, pharmacists are best placed to give a considered advice. Due to a lack of knowledge and expertise on these therapies, HCPs easily discourage their use. As a result, patients might feel misunderstood and become unwilling to share information with their HCPs.

After the workshop:

– Participants will have insight in the various motives for using CAHM

– Participants will share relevant sources of information on CAM that can be used in clinical practical

– Recommendations will be formulated to guide HCPs in how to support patients with questions on CAHM

Content and structure:

– Participants will be introduced in the topic of CAHM by using interactive tools such as PollEverywhere, Word Wall etc. This introduction aims to gain insight in the perspectives of participants themselves when thinking about alternative therapies.

– Plenary discussion on patient perspectives on CAHM, their motives in using them and the involvement of HCPS in the support when using herbs, foodsupplements and alternative practices, …

– Discussion in small groups on recommendations for healthcare professionals to guide them in the support of patients who consider to use CAM. The main focus in these recommendations for HCPS should be a patient-centered approach in which patients feel confident to discuss their use of CAM and feel understood and supported by their HCPs.

– Plenary discission on the findings