Author: Yang ZC//Yang SH//Yang SS//Chen DS
Culver Academies, Culver, Indiana, USA
Conference/Journal: Am J Chin Med
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 30 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 637-43 , Word Count: 178
To determine the extent to which Taiwanese patients use alternative medicine, we interviewed 500 consecutive patients with chronic liver and gastrointestinal disorders at an outpatient-service. Forty-two patients were excluded due to incomplete data. The percentages of patients with chronic liver (102/269, 37.9%) and gastrointestinal (74/189, 39.2%) diseases using alternative medicine were not significantly different (p = 0.70). The patients who used alternative medicine were not statistically different in gender (p = 0.37), age (p = 0.59), education level (p = 0.83), family income (p = 0.90), or occupation (p = 0.72). Only 36% (64/176) of patients informed their doctors of their use of alternative medicine. The kinds of alternative medicine used by the 176 patients included: Chinese/herbal medicine, 169 (96%); acupuncture, 31 (18%); nutritional supplements, 22 (13%); chiropractic, 17 (10%); scratching, 14 (8%); Qigong, 13 (7%); cupping, 13 (7%); and incense ash, 3 (2%). Sixty-six percent (111/169) of patients used Chinese/herbal medicine in addition to Western allopathic medicine. Only 11% (19/169) of them believed that Chinese/herbal medicine had side effects. Our study indicates the use of alternative medicine occurs across all demographic groups in one-third of patients with chronic liver and gastrointestinal diseases at a major general hospital in Taipei. We suggest that the doctors question all patients for history of alternative therapy use.