Self???Reported Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among the Health Care Consumers at a Tertiary Care Center in Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Author(s): Mathew E, Muttappallymyalil J, Sreedharan J, John LJ, John J, Mehboob M, Mathew A

Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) covers a wide range of approaches, including herbal medicine, manual healing techniques, traditional therapies and mind–body interventions. CAM is widely used throughout the world to treat a variety of illnesses and to maintain health. Aim: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular across the world, and is widely practiced. Utilization pattern and reasons for use and non‑use among patients attending a tertiary care center are assessed in this study. Subjects and Methods: One hundred and thirty‑five patients of different nationalities, above the age of 18 years, Gulf Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Ajman, UAE, were interviewed using an open‑ended structured questionnaire. In addition to socio‑demographic characteristics, the acceptability, utilization pattern and reasons for use and non‑use were elicited from the participants after obtaining consent from them. PASW 18 version was used to perform Chi‑square test and descriptive statistics. Results: Among the 135 participants were 20‑81 years old, those from the Far East used most 85.7% (6/7), then Pakistan 38.5% (15/39) and India 23% (16/70). The most common system used was homeopathy. Physicians advised 28.2% (11/39) of users, whereas others used non‑medical information. Around 71.8% (28/39) reported good outcome for themselves and family; however, only 10% (4/39) recommended it to others. Most of the users, 75% (101/135), were not sure whether CAM was based on scientific evidence, while 18% (24/135) felt it was. Good previous experience and less treatment complications were the most common reasons for using CAM and non‑use due to lack of knowledge or need. Conclusion: About one‑third of the seekers of modern medicine care also use CAM, and mostly without physician advice; hence, the importance of discussing the same while taking the clinical history. In view of the belief that CAM has fewer side‑effects, there is even more need for physician‑initiated discussion.


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