New Rochelle, NY, May 12, 2011—The results of clinical drug trials are only one tool for judging the safety and potential benefit of medical therapies and should not overshadow equally important factors such as risk and patient preferences when selecting treatment options, assert the authors of a provocative article in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. The article is available free here.

Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the program in integrative medicine and professor at the University of Arizona (Tucson); Scott Shannon, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado (Denver); and Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D., professor at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada), clearly differentiate between current medical decision making (MDM) practices, which tend to emphasize randomized controlled trial results and treatment efficacy, and what they view as a better approach to MDM. In the setting of integrative medicine, MDM should incorporate three main factors: safety of a treatment, including general and patient-specific risk factors; effectiveness; and patient-driven variables, such as individual needs and desires, cost and access and the patient’s belief system.

The authors propose a revised scale for rating a treatment’s efficacy that includes alternative criteria, explain why treatment benefit is just one aspect of assessing the value of a medical therapy, and propose a scale for considering risk issues in their article “Medical Decision Making in Integrative Medicine: Safety, Efficacy, and Patient Preference.”

Alternative and Complementary Therapies is a bimonthly journal that publishes original articles, reviews, and commentaries evaluating alternative therapies and how they can be integrated into clinical practice. Topics include botanical medicine, vitamins and supplements, nutrition and diet, mind-body medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, ayurveda, indigenous medicine systems, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga and meditation, manual therapies, energy medicine, and spirituality and health. A complete table of contents and free sample issue may be viewed online.

Mary Ann Liebert Inc. is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Medical Acupuncture and Journal of Medicinal Food. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 60 journals, books and newsmagazines is available at www.liebertpub.com.

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