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Anthroposophic medical therapy in chronic disease: a four-year prospective cohort study

DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-7-10

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In conjunction with a health benefit program in Germany, 233 outpatients aged 1–74 years, treated by 72 anthroposophic physicians after a consultation of at least 30 min participated in a prospective cohort study. Main outcomes were disease severity (Disease and Symptom Scores, physicians' and patients' assessment on numerical rating scales 0–10) and quality of life (adults: SF-36, children aged 8–16: KINDL, children 1–7: KITA). Disease Score was documented after 0, 6 and 12 months, other outcomes after 0, 3, 6, 12, 18, 24, and (Symptom Score and SF-36) 48 months.Most common indications were mental disorders (17.6% of patients; primarily depression and fatigue), respiratory diseases (15.5%), and musculoskeletal diseases (11.6%). Median disease duration at baseline was 3.0 years (interquartile range 0.5–9.8 years). The consultation leading to study enrolment lasted 30–60 min in 51.5% (120/233) of patients and > 60 min in 48.5%. During the following year, patients had a median of 3.0 (interquartile range 1.0–7.0) prolonged consultations with their anthroposophic physicians, 86.1% (167/194) of patients used anthroposophic medication.All outcomes except KITA Daily Life subscale and KINDL showed significant improvement between baseline and all subsequent follow-ups. Improvements from baseline to 12 months were: Disease Score from mean (standard deviation) 5.95 (1.74) to 2.31 (2.29) (p < 0.001), Symptom Score from 5.74 (1.81) to 3.04 (2.16) (p < 0.001), SF-36 Physical Component Summary from 44.01 (10.92) to 47.99 (10.43) (p < 0.001), SF-36 Mental Component Summary from 42.34 (11.98) to 46.84 (10.47) (p < 0.001), and KITA Psychosoma subscale from 62.23 (19.76) to 76.44 (13.62) (p = 0.001). All these improvements were maintained until the last follow-up. Improvements were similar in patients not using diagnosis-related adjunctive therapies within the first six study months.Patients treated by anthroposophic physicians after an initial prolonged consultation had long-term re


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