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Clin Transplant. 2009 Jan-Feb;23(1):56-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2008.00901.x. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Prevalence and correlates of selected alternative and complementary medicine in adult renal transplant patients.

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Institute of Nursing Science, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased considerably in the general population in recent decades. However, the prevalence of CAM use in renal transplant patients has not yet been assessed.


To determine the prevalence and correlates of CAM use among renal transplant patients (RTX) who are more than one year post transplant.


This secondary data analysis used data from Part 1 of the Supporting Medication Adherence in Renal Transplantation (SMART) study, which tested prevalence, determinants and consequences of non-adherence regarding immunosuppressive medication in kidney transplant (renal TX) patients. The study's convenience sample consisted of 356 patients recruited from two Swiss outpatient transplant clinics during their annual examination visits (mean age: 53+/-13; male: 58%). The use of CAM as well as the specific kind of CAM used was assessed through structured interviews. Assessed CAM use correlates were age, gender, education, depressive symptomatology, comorbidity and smoking status. Relationships between CAM use and candidate correlates were explored using multiple logistic regression.


The prevalence of CAM use in this sample of renal TX patients was 11.8%. Most frequently used alternative medicines were Homeopathy (42.9%) and Chinese medicine (23.8%). Two patients used St John's wort. The percentage of patients using Homeopathy (5.1%) and herbal medicine (2%) was similar to that of the general Swiss population (HO: 6.1% & HM: 2.6%). Significant correlates for CAM use were younger age (p=0.017; OR=0.96; 95%CI=0.93-0.99) and female gender (p=0.035; OR=2.13; 95%CI=1.05-4.3).


Every eighth renal transplant recipient in this sample used some form of CAM. Of these, some used herbal medicines, of which some are known to interfere with certain immunosuppressive treatment (St John's wort/Chinese medicines). These findings indicate that it is important for health care providers working in renal TX to assess CAM use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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