Complementary and alternative medicines usage in elderly patients in tertiary care teaching hospital of North India
Keywords:Complementary medicine, Alternative medicine, Elderly, Complementary and alternative medicine
Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is defined as a group of diverse medical health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Its use is highly prevalent in elderly population because of presence of chronic diseases. So, present study was planned to assess CAM usage in elderly patients.
Methods: This observational, questionnaire-based study was conducted at department of pharmacology, in association with department of medicine and included all adult patients of more than 60 years of age who have taken any CAM therapy. Demographic data, name of CAM preparation, its characteristics and behavioral pattern for its usage were recorded.
Results: Out of 200 patients of more than 60 years attending medicine outpatient department, 115 were found to be CAM users. CAM usage was more in females (59.1%); age group of 60-69 years (49.57%); rural residents (66.08%); low socioeconomic status (81.73%). Most common CAM preparations used were dietary supplements (61.7%) and vitamins and minerals (56.52%) for indications such as chronic pain and endocrine disorders because it was thought to be safe. 76.52 % of CAM users did not discuss CAM with their health care provider.
Conclusions: CAM use is highly prevalent in elderly patients and more so in females of low socioeconomic status. Most common CAM therapy used was dietary supplements. Continuous educational efforts are needed to enhance the awareness of patients and healthcare providers regarding the CAM therapy.
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