Melissa Benoit

Complementary and alternative medicine - what you need to know

There is increasing need to study complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) because we cannot ignore the benefits we see all around us. But due to limited information and evidence surrounding CAM, we should continue to be cautious and weigh the risks and benefits.

Anything we may take, be it conventional medication, CAM, or even food - all have an effect on our bodies. This can be a beneficial effect, or it can be a side effect - it all depends on how you look at it. So, if a product says it has "no side effects", we should wonder if it has any good effects at all!

In cystic fibrosis, one of our main concerns is the risk of herbal-drug interactions. This does not mean that an herb and a drug combined produce something toxic. Instead, the interaction may be that the herbal product may cause either an increase or decrease in the amount of the other drug in the body. Even if there are no reports in the literature, there's still a chance there may be an interaction. Continue to monitor your overall health and keep your health care team in the loop.