National patterns and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine use in adults with diabetes

Donald Garrow, Leonard E Egede
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Research on Paradigm, Practice, and Policy 2006, 12 (9): 895-902

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine national patterns and correlates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among adults with diabetes.

METHODS: The authors compared CAM use in 2474 adults with and 28,625 adults without diabetes who participated in the most comprehensive national survey on CAM use (2002 National Health Interview Survey). Eight CAM use categories were created, including dietary, herbal, chiropractic, yoga, relaxation, vitamin, prayer, and other (acupuncture, Ayurveda, biofeedback, chelation, energy healing or Reiki therapy, hypnosis, massage, naturopathy, and homeopathy). An overall CAM use category also was created that excluded vitamins and prayer. Patterns of use were compared with chi-square and independent correlates of CAM use with multiple logistic regression controlling for relevant covariates. STATA was used for analysis to account for the complex survey design.

RESULTS: Prevalence of overall use of CAM did not differ significantly by diabetes status (47.6 versus 47.9%, p = 0.81). Diabetes was not an independent predictor of overall use of CAM (OR 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83, 1.05). However, persons with diabetes were more likely to use prayer (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.05, 1.36), but less likely to use herbs (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.75, 0.99), yoga (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.43, 0.72), or vitamins (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.72, 0.93) than people without diabetes after controlling for relevant covariates. Independent correlates of overall use of CAM differed by age, income, employment, comorbidity, and health status between people with and without diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found that there has been a dramatic increase in overall use of CAM in adults with diabetes; diabetes was not an independent predictor of overall use of CAM; and people with diabetes were more likely to use prayer, but less likely to use herbs, yoga, or vitamins compared to persons without diabetes.

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