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Huber, Christina Maria; Barth, Niklas and Linde, Klaus (2020): How Young German General Practitioners View and Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Qualitative Study. In: Complementary Medicine Research, Vol. 27, No. 6: pp. 383-391

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Background: Qualitative and quantitative surveys show that many German general practitioners (GPs) use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in their daily work. However, participants in such studies were mostly experienced GPs. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate systematically how young GPs view CAM and to what extent and how they use CAM treatments. Methods: Thirteen young physicians in specialist training for general practice as well as GPs who had completed their specialist training within the last 2 years participated in problem-oriented interviews. Interviews were evaluated by qualitative content analysis. Results: The attitudes of participants towards CAM in general and towards specific CAM modalities varied strongly, but doubts regarding a firm evidence base and specific effects over placebo were expressed frequently. Nevertheless, participants were generally open to herbal medicines and all seemed to use them more or less regularly in clinical practice. Other CAM treatments seemed to be used infrequently. Participants used CAM often for minor illnesses;largely as a first low-intensity therapeutic trial to avoid potentially harmful conventional treatments;and to comply with patient preferences. Conclusions:Compared to more experienced GPs, the participants in our study tended to be more critical towards CAM. Apart from herbal medicines, CAM treatments were used rarely.

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