People with diabetes often use complementary medicines (CMs) for a range of reasons. GPs have a responsibility to consider, ask about and document CM use as part of optimal diabetes care. The quality of the evidence to support CM use varies among studies. Personalised care and quality use of medicines are useful frameworks for making decisions about all types of medicines.
- Diabetes is an independent predictor of use of complementary medicines (CMs).
- People may not disclose use of CMs often because clinicians do not ask about it.
- Benefit, burden and risk apply to all medicines. People with diabetes assess these issues differently from clinicians and relate better to qualitative explanations than statistical information.
- The effects of CMs should be monitored and documented as part of the overall medicines regimen.
- Quality use of medicines, personalised care, shared decision-making and integrative medicine principles are useful frameworks to enhance benefit and safety and reduce risks of CM use.