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Use and satisfaction of complementary and alternative medicine among diabetic patients in a tertiary care hospital

Monica N., Jayanthi CR, Praveen Panchaksharimath.

Background: Diabetes is a chronic disorder which requires long-term treatment. Non- adherence to treatment is a major factor responsible for morbidities and mortalities associated with diabetes. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use has been one of the reasons for discontinuation of treatment. This study was conducted to assess the extent to which CAM and non-CAM users adhere to medical treatment.
Methods: 200 patients attending the diabetic clinic over a period of 2 months participated in the study. After obtaining written informed consent, they were administered a CAM use and satisfaction questionnaire (TSQM) based on effectiveness, no side-effects, convenience and global satisfaction.
Results: Out of 200 participants, 29% (58) used CAM. Naturopathy was the most commonly followed type of CAM (60 %; 35). Residing in the rural areas (OR-3.7), Socio- economic status above poverty line (OR- 9), diabetics with co- morbidities (OR- 6) and microvascular complications (OR-6) and using insulin (OR-3) was found to be the predictors of CAM use. However, the incidence of hypoglycemic episodes was 52 times higher among CAM users. (91%; 52) of the CAM users did not reveal the use to their physicians, out of which (70%; 40) did not disclose due to the fear of discouragement by the doctor. CAM was found to be better in all aspects of patient satisfaction like effectiveness, no- side-effects and global satisfaction than conventional medicine while conventional medicine users scored it to be more convenient to use than CAM.
Conclusions: Doctors should enquire diabetics regarding CAM use since the voluntary disclosure is very less. Keeping lines of communication open for any discussions regarding pros and cons of CAM. Increasing patient awareness about potential drug interactions, when CAM is practised along with conventional medicine.

Key words: Complementary and alternative medicine, Diabetes, TSQM

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