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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2019 Jan-Feb;30(1):185-193.

Prevalence of use of complementary and alternative medicine in chronic kidney disease: A cross-sectional single-center study from South India.

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Department of Nephrology, K. S. Hegde Medical Academy, Medical Sciences Complex, Derlakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.


The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has increased substantially in India over the past two decades commensurate with the global trend and has currently emerged as a significant cause of mortality and morbidity. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), especially ayurvedic medication, is widespread in CKD although accurate data on the prevalence of use are lacking. A cross-sectional study was conducted from January to June 2017 in the nephrology outpatient clinic of a medical college hospital in Mangalore, South-West India. Adult patients (>18 years) with CKD (estimated glomerular filtration rate ≤60 mL/min) were considered potentially eligible and approached to participate in the survey. A 17-item semi-structured questionnaire adapted from the National Health Interview Survey Adult CAM Supplement was used for the study. A total of 278 patients (194 males and 84 females) with a mean age of 49.04 ± 12.06 years were included in the study; 67.3% were unemployed and married (83.8%), 35.6% had primary school education, more than 2/3rd of the patients had CKD Stage 5, and 110 patients were on renal replacement therapy with hemodialysis. Comorbidities such as hypertension were present in 46.8%, whereas 36.7% of the patients were diabetic. One hundred and eighty-four patients interviewed (66.3%) reported the use of one or more types of CAM therapy in the previous six months. Herbal and dietary supplements were used by 13 (7.1%); ayurvedic medication by 117 (63.6%); naturopathic, homeopathic, and Unani systems by 30 (16.3%), while spiritual/faith healing and acupuncture were used by 16 (8.7%) and eight (4.3%) of the patients, respectively. A multiple regression analysis between CAM users and non-users revealed that older age (P = 0.004), occupational status (P = 0.035), and income (P = 0.006) correlated strongly with CAM use. The present study highlights the high prevalence (66%) of use of alternative medication in patients with CKD.


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