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Cross-sectional study
Complementary and alternative medicine is popular among chronic renal failure patients – renal teams must increase their competence to advise patients with respect to efficacy and safety
  1. Rainer Nowack1,
  2. Rainer Birck2
  1. 1Center for Nephrology and Dialysis, Lindau/Bodensee, Germany
  2. 2Fifth Department of Medicine, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Rainer Nowack
    Center for Nephrology and Dialysis, Dialysezentrum Lindau, Friedrichshafener Str. 82; D-88131 Lindau, Germany; nowack{at}

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Commentary on: OpenUrlCrossRefPubMed

Implications for practice and research

  • Renal nurses should realise that a substantial subset of their patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat their renal disease.

  • Active inquiry about CAM is warranted, as some products may be harmful for the patient (eg, by causing interactions with medication).

  • To better advise patients, nurses and physicians need to improve their knowledge about efficacy and safety of CAM.

  • For the sake of the patient's safety, research on nurses' communication skills is warranted. Nurses need to be trained to inquire successfully about CAM usage, (eg, by using structured questionnaires).


A substantial subset of patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) has to accept that their disease will progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) despite modern evidence-based therapy. Dialysis-dependency is a bitter burden and patients fear the …

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  • Competing interests None.