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Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2009 May;15(2):80-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2008.12.005. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Complementary medicine use among attendees at a rural health screening clinic.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia.


The objective of this study was to investigate the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in a group of older rural Australian attending a multi-disciplinary health screening clinic. The average age of all participants (n=102) was 66+/-10 years (range 49-89) and 61% were female. Three-quarters (78%) of respondents had used at least one CAM product within the past 12 months and 66% had visited a CAM practitioner. The most frequently used CAM were vitamin/mineral supplements (54%) followed by herbal supplements (28%). Among products named by respondents that they were currently using the most frequently cited were omega-3/fish oils (28%) and glucosamine (24%). The main source of information for most respondents (53%) was doctors and pharmacists followed by family and friends (28%). Almost half (46%) had not discussed their use of CAM with their doctor and only 15% had discussed their CAM use with a pharmacist. Respondents were not found to hold strongly pro-CAM or anti-CAM health beliefs. This study demonstrates that while older, rural Australians do not have significant pro-CAM beliefs they do have high use of CAM. Based on the types of products used it is suggested that CAM use forms part of these individuals' self-management strategies.

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