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Vol. 16, No. 5, 2009
Issue release date: November 2009
Forsch Komplementmed 2009;16:325–333

Diagnostic Profiles and Prescribing Patterns in Everyday Anthroposophic Medical Practice – a Prospective Multi-Centre Study

Jeschke E. · Ostermann T. · Tabali M. · Bockelbrink A. · Witt C.M. · Willich S.N. · Matthes H.
a Havelhoehe Research Institute, Berlin, b Institute of Medical Theory and Complementary Medicine, University of Witten/Herdecke, c Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Centre, Berlin, Germany

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Background: Although anthroposophic medicine has been used for more than 80 years and global interest in complementary treatments is increasing, a comprehensive and long-term description of everyday anthroposophic care is still lacking. Our study aims to evaluate how anthroposophic medicine is practised under everyday conditions. Methods: A total of 38 primary-care physicians in Germany participated in this prospective, multi-centre observational study. Prescriptions, diagnoses, and non-pharmacological therapies were reported for each consecutive patient. Results: In 2005, 95,116 prescriptions for 32,839 patients (56.2% children, 57.3% female) were recorded. The median duration of consultation depended on physician specialization (general practitioners: 9.5 min; paediatricians: 8.1 min). The most frequent single diagnoses were acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), otitis media, and bronchitis in children; hypertension, breast cancer, and depressive episodes in adult females; and hypertension, URTI, and asthma in adult males. Anthroposophic remedies accounted for 41.8% of all drugs prescribed. The odds ratio (OR) for receiving an anthroposophic remedy was very high for cancer (OR = 4.5; 95% CI: 4.2–4.8) and >1 for dorsopathies (OR = 1.5; CI: 1.3–1.6), otitis media (OR = 1.3; CI: 1.2–1.3), and URTI (OR = 1.1; CI: 1.1–1.2). Of the 5,289 therapeutic procedures prescribed, 27% were anthroposophic. Conclusion: A broad range of anthroposophic remedies and non-pharmacological therapies are prescribed for a specific set of diseases in everyday anthroposophic practice. Particularly, patients <60 years received anthroposophic care. Our findings will help in the planning and implementation of further studies.

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