Complementary and alternative medicines use in COVID-19: a global perspective on practice, policy and research

Vibhu Paudyal, Shusen Sun, Rabia Hussain, Mohammed H. Abutaleb, Erick Wesley Hedima

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The COVID-19 pandemic has met international health systems with a low level of preparedness and emergency response. While the emergence of effective vaccines has offered the Governments, scientific communities, and members of the public a possible way out of the pandemic, effective pharmacotherapy, including immunotherapy for COVID-19 prevention and treatment, are yet to be established. Internationally, this has led to a surge in the demand and supply of many complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and practices. Recent studies have shown increasing CAM information requests made to pharmacists and other healthcare staff from members of public and patients aimed at prevention, symptoms relief or treatment of COVID-19.

In this context, it is imperative that healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, are acquainted with current practices, policies, and research in relation to CAM use in COVID-19. This narrative commentary will provide an update on global practices, policies and research in regards to CAM use in the context of COVID-19. Healthcare professionals’ understanding of popular CAMs and those tipped for potential benefits in COVID-19, patient and consumer behaviors in relation to CAM use; and healthcare professionals' awareness of cultural, religious, and self-care practices associated with CAM use are imperative to inform effective communication and counselling practices and promote evidence based self-care when patients present for advice. This narrative provides relevant discussions specific to different continents and regions historically linked to diverse CAM practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2021


  • CAM
  • COVID-19
  • Complementary and alternative medicines
  • Herbal medicines
  • Patient education and counselling


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