Guidelines on Developing Consumer Information on Proper Use of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(2004; 109 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
View the documentPreface
View the documentGlossary
Open this folder and view contents1. General Considerations
Open this folder and view contents2. Development of Consumer Information
Open this folder and view contents3. General Principles and Activities for Ensuring Reliable TM/CAM Information
Close this folder4. Topics to Consider when Developing Consumer Information Promoting Proper Use of TM/CAM
View the document4.1 General information
View the document4.2 Where to find reliable information
View the document4.3 How to identify reliable information
Open this folder and view contents4.4 TM/CAM medication therapies
Open this folder and view contents4.5 Procedure-based TM/CAM therapies
View the document4.6 Practitioners
View the document4.7 Pricing and health insurance coverage
View the document5. Use of this Publication
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes
View the documentBack Cover

4.1 General information

Decisions about individual health care are important, including the decisions about whether to use TM/CAM.

General consumer information regarding TM/CAM may include the following key issues:

• The importance of the need to take charge of one’s own health by being an informed consumer.

• The need for all providers, both conventional health care providers and TM/CAM practitioners, to be aware of the major TM/CAM and conventional therapies in use in order to promote the best treatment strategy to meet the patient’s specific needs and prevent potentially dangerous interactions.

• The importance of ensuring that the provider is competent and provides TM/CAM services and products of quality.

• Where relevant, the need for consumers to find out about standard charges and possible health insurance coverage for TM/CAM therapies.

Table 1. Elements relevant for consumer information on TM/CAM.


Main topics

Specific issues


General information

• Being an informed consumer

• Informing health care providers and TM/CAM practitioners about therapies being used

• Engaging qualified TM/CAM practitioners and utilizing quality assured TM/CAM medication therapies

• Where relevant, information regarding health insurance coverage


Where to find reliable information

• Institutions and authorities representing TM/CAM and/or conventional medicine

• Registered TM/CAM providers, conventional health care providers

• Certain publications and websites


How to identify reliable information

• Purpose
• Relevance/accuracy
• Sources
• Updated information
• Objectivity


TM/CAM medication therapies

• Therapeutic claims and corresponding level of evidence
• Quality
• Precautions
• Adverse events
• Potent and/or toxic therapies
• Interactions and contraindications
• Posology
• Methods of administration
• Self-medication
• Preparation
• Children, pregnant or lactating women and the elderly


Procedure-based therapies

• Therapeutic claims and corresponding level of evidence
• Precautions



• How to identify qualified practitioners
• Certification of practitioners
• Surveillance system for malpractice


Pricing/health insurance coverage

• Where to access information about standard charges and health insurance coverage

to previous section
to next section
The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 6, 2017