LONDON, September 8 /PRNewswire/ --

More than a third of patients with long-term fatigue conditions like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) believe complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are more effective than traditional medicine in treating their illness, research launched at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester reveals.

98% of patients believed alternative therapy should be available through the NHS.

Researchers from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen found that sufferers of chronic conditions had relief from their symptoms when they used CAMs.

The findings showed:

- About 34% of participants believed that CAMs were more effective in alleviating their symptoms (including pain and malaise, or a general feeling of low energy and of being unwell) than traditional medicines; - 60% believed that taking CAMs kept them well; - 73% of participants who reported using CAMs believed that it had improved their health; - Of those who reported using chiropractics, 83% said they very satisfied with the treatment - 46% believed that a combination of CAM and orthodox medicine was better than using traditional medicine alone.

Lead researcher, Dr Yash Kumarasamy said: "Many patients who have a long-term fatigue condition turn to alternative therapies because they feel that orthodox treatments failed to work for them, or because they experienced a lack of support from their healthcare team."

"Patients need to know how important it is to consult a healthcare professional before they take complementary or alternative medicines, or stop taking prescription medication. Pharmacists don't just dispense medicines - they are healthcare professionals with a broad range of knowledge and can help people with expert advice and support in managing their health."

Notes to Editors

About Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a chronic, inflammatory, primarily neurological disease that affects the central nervous system, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrinological system and muscoskeletal system. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including changes in sensory tolerance, visual problems, exertional muscle weakness, difficulties with co-ordination and speech, severe fatigue, cognitive impairment, problems with balance, subnormal or poor body temperature control and pain.

About the British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 (BPC)

BPC 2008: Pharmacy in the 21st Century: Adding years to life and life to years. In 2008, as the NHS marks its 60th anniversary year, BPC will examine how pharmacy and the pharmaceutical services are helping to add years to life and life to the year of the UK population. The profession of pharmacy plays an important role in meeting the healthcare challenges associated with the UK's ageing population.

How can pharmacists contribute to caring for the population as well as ensuring quality of life? Increasingly, scientists and practitioners have to consider the cost implications of this conundrum, and the evidence base for all interventions is becoming of paramount importance: BPC 2008 will debate these issues and open up discussion on them. Visit:

The main sponsors of BPC 2008 are: Boots The Chemists (Lead Sponsor), AstraZeneca (Associate Sponsor and BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor), Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) (Associate Sponsor) and GSK (BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor).

Research released at BPC is published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP).

For media enquiries please contact: The British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 Press Office, (September 7, 8, and 9 only), Tel: +44(0)161-827-8765, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8766, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8767, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8768, Fax: +44(0)161-839-9311. Mobile: Tel: +44(0)7792-109-834, Tel: +44(0)7739-533-658 Or: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit +44(0)20-7572-2335