Complementary and alternative medicine in epilepsy: A global survey of physicians’ opinions

Ali A. Asadi-Pooya*, Francesco Brigo, Simona Lattanzi, Ioannis Karakis, Marjan Asadollahi, Eugen Trinka, Lobna Talaat El Ghoneimy, Chrisma Pretorius, Guilca Contreras, Anilu Daza-Restrepo, Kette Valente, Luciana D'Alessio, Saule T. Turuspekova, Ghaieb Aljandeel, Samson Khachatryan, Abdulaziz Ashkanani, Torbjörn Tomson, Mansur Kutlubaev, Alla Guekht, Taoufik AlsaadiYamile Calle-Lopez, Boulenouar Mesraoua, Loreto Ríos-Pohl, Abdullah Al-Asmi, Vicente Villanueva, Stanley C. Igwe, Najib Kissani, Asel Jusupova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To investigate the opinions of physicians on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in patients with epilepsy (PWE) worldwide. Methods: Online survey addressed to neurologists and psychiatrists from different countries. Results: Totally, 1112 physicians from 25 countries (different world region: Europe, North America, South America, Middle-East, Africa, Former Soviet Union Republics) participated; 804 (72.3%) believed that CAM might be helpful in PWE. The most commonly endorsed CAM included meditation (41%) and yoga (39%). Female sex, psychiatry specialization, and working in North and South America were associated with the belief that CAM is helpful in PWE. Two-hundred and forty five out of 1098 participants (22.3%) used/prescribed CAM to PWE; among them, 174 (71%) people perceived CAM to be less effective and 114 (46.5%) people found CAM to be safer than conventional antiseizure medications (ASMs). The most common reasons to prescribe CAM for PWE were: to satisfy the patient (49.9%), dissatisfaction with the efficacy (35.6%), and dissatisfaction with the adverse effects (31.2%) of conventional therapies. Conclusion: Although the evidence supporting the use of CAM for the treatment of epilepsy is extremely sparse, most physicians worldwide believe that it could be integrated with the use of conventional ASMs, at least in some patients. High-quality controlled trials are warranted to provide robust evidence on the usefulness of CAM options in PWE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107835
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Alternative
  • Complementary
  • Epilepsy
  • Integrative
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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