BACKGROUND: There is a wide spread increase in the use of CAM by patients with rheumatic disease. This study was performed to identify the prevalence of CAM use and determining factors affecting CAM use by patients with rheumatic disease. METHODS: From October 23 to November 31 in 2003, face-to-face structured interviews were conducted in a rheumatology hospital in Seoul. A total of 182 patients with rheumatic disease, who visited the hospital, participated. RESULTS: CAM was used by 59.3% (95% CI=52.1~66.2%) of the patients with rheumatic disease. The most common use of CAM was traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and herbs. Demographic variables were not predictive for the use of CAM. As the duration of disease was longer, probability on CAM use was lower (odd ratio: 0.922, 95% CI=0.855~0.994). CAM use on disabled people who registered were 4.623 (95% CI=1.105~19.348) times higher than non-disabled. CONCLUSION: CAM use is common in patients with rheumatic disease. The duration of disease and physical disability were the influencing factors for using CAM. These findings support a need for outcome studies on the effectiveness of CAM in rheumatic disease, as well as the improvement of providing patients with information on CAM usage.