Who uses complementary and alternative therapies in regional South Australia? Evidence from the Whyalla Intergenerational Study of Health

D'Onise, Katina, Haren, Matthew T., Misan, Gary M.H., and McDermott, Robyn A. (2013) Who uses complementary and alternative therapies in regional South Australia? Evidence from the Whyalla Intergenerational Study of Health. Australian Health Review, 37 (1). pp. 104-111.

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Objective. To assess the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and service use for people with a chronic disease in rural and regional Australia, where reported prevalence of CAM use is higher.

Methods. Data were from the Whyalla Intergenerational Study of Health, a population representative cross sectional study of 1146 people recruited in 2008-2009. Self-reported chronic disease diagnosis and health service use including CAM use were collected. Complementary and other medicines were recorded at a clinic visit in a reduced sample (n = 722) and SF36 data were collected by questionnaire.

Results. Around 32% of respondents reported complementary medicine use and 27% CAM service use. There was no difference in the overall prevalence of CAM use among those with and without a chronic disease (OR 0.9, 95% CI 0.7-1.3). Greater age-and sex-adjusted use of complementary medicines was associated with the ability to save money (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.17-2.63), but not with any other socioeconomic position indicator. Those who reported using prescribed medication were more likely to report using complementary medicines (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.35-3.24).

Conclusions. The prevalence of CAM use in this regional community appeared lower than reported in similar communities outside of South Australia. Mainstream medicine use was associated with complementary medicine use, increasing the risk of an adverse drug interaction. This suggests that doctors and pharmacists should be aware of the possibility that their clients may be using complementary medicines, and the need for vigilance regarding potential side effects and interactions between complementary and mainstream therapies.

Item ID: 35781
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-8944
Funders: South Australian Population Health Intergenerational Research (SAPHIRe), Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: SAPHIRe Premiers Science Research Fund, NHMRC #511345
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 16:48
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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