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Complementary and alternative medicine use in Iranian patients with diabetes mellitus

16 Sep 2015


OBJECTIVE: There is increasing interest in complementary and alternative medicine generally, and especially by those affected by chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus. We aimed to determine the prevalence and pattern of complementary and alternative medicine use among patients suffering from diabetes mellitus in Shiraz, southern Iran. Another objective was to explore associated factors for use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with diabetes mellitus.

METHODS: A 19-item semi-structured questionnaire (open- and close-ended) was administered to 239 patients with diabetes mellitus in this cross-sectional study. It was carried out in two outpatient diabetes clinics affiliated with the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

RESULTS: One hundred and eighty patients (75.3%) used at least one type of complementary and alternative medicine in the last year prior to the interview. Patients with diabetes mellitus who were living in a large family (≥ 5 members), not taking insulin, and believed that complementary and alternative medicine have synergistic effects with conventional medicine, were independently and significantly (P values: 0.02, 0.04, and 0.01, respectively) more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine. Most of the users (97.7%) reported use of herbal preparations, and 89.4% of users did not change their medication, neither in medication schedule nor its dosage.

CONCLUSION: The use of complementary and alternative medicine, especially herbal remedies, is popular among diabetes patients in Shiraz, Iran. This use is associated with patients’ family size, type of conventional medications and their view about concomitant use of complementary and conventional medicine.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Integrative Medicine