Prevalence and predictors of complementary medicine usage in diabetes : Fremantle diabetes study

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Aim: To evaluate the use of complementary medicines (CMs) by diabetic patients, and to investigate whether these CMs could affect diabetes control, related comorbidities and existing therapeutic regimens. Method: Three hundred and fifty one diabetic patients were interviewed regarding their use of CMs. A literature search was conducted to assess the potential impact of CMs on diabetes control and related comorbidities. The subjects were a convenience sample of consecutive patients from the Fremantle Diabetes Study attending their annual review. The main outcome measures were the prevalence and range of CMs used by diabetic patients and the potential requirement for additional monitoring. Results: Eighty three out of 351 (23.6%) diabetic patients had consumed at least one CM in the previous year, the most common being vitamin C. These patients were of a similar age but more likely to be female (59% versus 41% males; p=0.02) compared with those not taking CMs. Glycaemic control was similar in the two groups. CM use was associated independently with female gender, Anglo- Celt ethnicity, and keeping a home blood glucose monitoring diary. Based on a comprehensive literature search, 42% of the CMs potentially necessitated additional patient monitoring or could be considered inappropriate for diabetic patients. Conclusion: CM use is common amongst patients with diabetes, especially, female Anglo-Celts. CMs have the potential to interfere with diabetes control or related comorbidities. Our data indicate the need for patient disclosure of CM use, adequate monitoring for CM-related adverse events and greater consumer protection perhaps through tighter regulation of CM sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-264
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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