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Original Research

Complementary and alternative medicine usage in patients for different ailments in rural region of Malwa area of Punjab: A cross-sectional study

Kamalpreet Kaur, Bikramdeep Singh, Gagandeep Kaur.


Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased steadily over the past 10-15 years and has gained medical, economic, and sociological importance. The prevalence of CAM use in patients is frequently high and estimated to be from 30% to 90% as reported in the literature. However, such usage data are missing in Indian population and that too based in rural area.

Aims and Objectives: Our study aims to explore prevalence, pattern of use, and predictors of CAM and patients perceptions in various chronic diseases in rural populations.

Materials and Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional, 6 months survey enrolling 350 patients was conducted at Community Health Centre, located in village Badal, in Malwa region of Punjab, for 6-month period (July-December 15). Data collection was done in two parts: (a) Demographic details and (b) conventional treatment details. A questionnaire based on the International Questionnaire to Measure Use of CAM, developed by National Research Centre in CAM of the University of Tromso, Norway, which aims to internationally assess the use of CAM.

Results: Out of total of 346 patients recruited, 200 confirmed of CAM usage and 146 denied of any CAM therapy and were labeled as a nonuser group. Male predominance. Uneducated farmers below the poverty line were the dominant category who went for CAM as an ailment curing therapy, indicating education and poverty as one of the major predictors in our study. Hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, dermatology, and patients of diseases with longer duration more frequently practiced CAM. Hiding the therapies from treating physician was reported 58%. Homeopathic and ayurvedic therapies were famous in our rural population. All the results were compared in user and non-user groups.

Conclusion: CAM usage to such an extent is alarming. No previous reports of CAM use in the rural population of Malwa region are documented. This increasing trends worldwide are making CAM history essential component of treatments for all common specially
chronic diseases. So, our study is one of the first efforts to make CAM history an integral part of usual case history in our rural setup.

Key words: Complementary and Alternative Medicine; International Questionnaire to Measure Use of CAMQuestionnaire; Cross-Sectional Study

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