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Natl Med J India. 2013 Mar-Apr;26(2):75-8.

Use of and satisfaction with complementary and alternative medicine in four chronic diseases: a cross-sectional study from India.

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Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital, Parel, Mumbai 400012, Maharashtra, India. Department of Clinical Pharmacology.



We assessed the extent of use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients with four chronic diseases-epilepsy, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and diabetes mellitus (DM)-at a tertiary care, teaching hospital of allopathic medicine in India. We also assessed patients' satisfaction with CAM.


Adults attending the outpatient clinics for epilepsy, HIV, RA and DM who took CAM were recruited over a period of 16 weeks. After obtaining written informed consent, they were administered the 'Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication' (TSQM)TM to assess satisfaction in domains such as effectiveness, no side-effect, convenience and global satisfaction.


Of the 4664 patients screened, 1619 (34.7%) were using CAM and 650 (40%) of them consented to participate. The extent of use of CAM was 63% in patients with DM, 42.7% in RA, 26.2% in HIV and 7.7% in epilepsy. Ayurveda 57.1% (95% CI 53.27-60.89) was the most frequently used CAM. Satisfaction in terms of effectiveness and global satisfaction was highest among patients with HIV (69.4% and 69.2%, respectively) and least among those who had RA (56.6% and 54.1%, respectively). High scores were reported to 'no side-effect' domain in all the four diseases. The proportion of physicians who were aware about their patients' using CAM was 100% in patients with RA, 95% in HIV, 74% in epilepsy and 29% in DM.


A large proportion of patients with four chronic diseases reporting to a hospital of allopathic medicine in India were also using CAM and were satisfied with its use. Given the potential interaction of CAM with allopathic medicines, a history of use of CAM should be elicited in clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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