This information is about the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs) while you are a patient at the Eye and Ear hospital.
As a patient, you will be asked to list the medicines that you take at home. To provide the best care, it is important for us to know about all the medicines and supplements you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter products as well as complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs).

What are Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs)?

CAMs are also known as non-conventional or traditional medicines. They include vitamin and mineral products (other than those prescribed), herbal medicines including traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, and homeopathic
CAMs are not usually prescribed by a doctor. They may be purchased from a local pharmacy, supermarket, an alternative health practitioner or from the internet. There are many reasons why people consider using complementarytherapies. They may offer you physical, emotional and spiritual support, reduce side effects from medical treatment, and improve quality of life.

In general, there is limited scientific information about the safety and benefit of many CAMs. It can be useful to speak to your doctor about the use of different CAMs.

Why is it important to let staff know that you take CAMs?

Some CAMs can interfere with prescribed medicines, or may lead to an increased risk of complications such as bleeding after surgery. Also, some CAMs should be avoided in particular medical conditions. Pharmacists can provide advice and answer questions you may have.

Please note all CAMs will be stopped during your stay in hospital.

Your doctor/pharmacist may advise you to stop taking our CAMs in hospital because of:

  • your medical condition
  • lack of information available about the CAMs
  • harm from taking CAMs with prescribed medicines

What will happen if you wish to keep taking CAMs during your stay?

If you have any concerns about stopping your CAMs, you should discuss this with the doctor/pharmacist.

Will the hospital provide CAMs during your inpatient stay?

If the clinical staff at the hospital approve the continuation of your CAMs during your hospital stay, you will be required to arrange your own supply from home to continue with your therapy. These will be kept locked in your medication drawer. You must ask for them when you need them. We will not be responsible for supplying stock of CAMs.

How can you make safer choices if you wish to use CAMs?

  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking CAMs, especially if you are taking other medicines.
  • Use caution when buying CAMs from the internet. Products that are not approved for sale in Australia can be fake or contain harmful ingredients not listed on the label.
  • Use caution with any products that make unrealistic health claims. You can talk to us if you are not sure about a product.

Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Using Complementary and Alternative Medicines in Hospital #
  • Owner: Pharmacy
  • Last Reviewed: February 6, 2023
  • Next Review: August 19, 2027