General precautions

Talk to you general practitioner (GP) about the use of CAM. Don't use products uncritically.

There are no requirements for a medical degree or medical competence for practising as a CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) provider in Norway. 

If you have a health problem, and would like to try some CAM modalities you should first and foremost visit your general practitioner to insure that the symptoms are not a sign of something serious.

Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and seriously ill people are considered vulnerable groups. There is little to no research on the risks and safe use for these groups. Therefore they have an extra good reason for discussing CAM with their GP before use. 
In some of the CAM modalities the practitioners interpret deterioration and other symptoms as signs that their treatment is working. If oy mean that you have become worse from using a treatment you should contact your GP. 

Do not use products such as herbs and supplements uncritically   

Even if products such as herbs and supplements often is said to be "natural and harmless", such products can be damaging to your health.

Some products from nature, which are used in CAM treatments, are directly hazardous to health. One example is apricot kernels which is used in alternative cancer treatment. These can cause cyanide poisoning.

Some controls in Norway has shown that supplements can contain illegal and hazardous substances (link in Norwegian).  

Supplements bought at Norwegian pharmacies may have a lower risk than supplements bought online or at a health food store.

There has been a large amount of underreporting of adverse effects pertaining to use of herbs, supplements and other herbal remedies, says RELIS (Norway's national network of four regional medicines information and pharmacovigilance centres, article in Norwgian). 

Even if there are no information about adverse effects with the tuse of the product, that is no guarantee that it can not occur.

Some practitioners of CAM believe you should use herbs and supplements in lager doses than the recommended daily dosage. Any product can become unsafe if the doses are high enough. Follow the package leaflet or advice from health personnel about the use of the product

Many people are allergic to things from nature. If you know that you are allergic to some herbs, supplements or other herbal remedies, or the ingredients in such products, you should of course be very careful to use them.

As a  user of CAM your legal protection is weaker, than by the use of the public health services

CAM therapists are not regulated by law in the same manner as those who work within the public health services. If you choose to use CAM instead of treatment provided by the public health sevices, you are less protected by the legislation if something goes wrong.

More to read:

Quality assurance of NAFKAMs information


Norway's National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

We work to give you facts about complementary and alternative medicine, so that you can make safer choices for your health.

Read more about NAFKAM

Other websites from NAFKAM: