In this study, physicians from Ontario, Canada, determined the level of alternative medicine (AM) use in gastroenterology outpatients and patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
A total of 341 patients completed an 80-item questionnaire, which addressed their symptoms, general health, quality of life, and AM use.
The physicians found that 53% of patients had used AM in the previous year.
|The most common alternative medicines|
- herbal medicine = 45%
- chiropractor = 41%
- massage therapy = 23%
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The most common of these were herbal medicine (45%), chiropractor (41%), and massage therapy (23%).
The team determined that the reasons which prompted patients to seek AM were ineffective medical therapy (40%), a greater sense of self-control (29), personal beliefs (20%), and adverse effects from conventional drugs (17%).
Predictors for AM use included higher education (odds ratio (OR) 2.10), comorbid conditions (OR 1.80), a poor mental component summary score of the SF-12 health survey (OR 1.04), and higher income (OR 1.17)
The physicians also found that AM usage was greater in patients with IBD (45% versus 10%). These patients often cited adverse effects from conventional therapy as their reason for AM use (29% versus 14%).
Dr Subhas Ganguli's team concluded, "AM was used by 53% of gastroenterology outpatients".
"Its use was greater in those with a higher level of education, comorbid conditions, poorer mental health-related quality of life, and higher income".
"Drug-related side effects also led to increased AM use".