Prevalence and determinants of using complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of chronic illnesses: A multicenter study in Bangladesh

Article


Shahjalal, Md., Kishor, Samar, Ahmed, Tanvi, Yasmin, Irin, Mahumud, Rashidul Alam and HossainI, Ahmed. 2022. "Prevalence and determinants of using complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of chronic illnesses: A multicenter study in Bangladesh." PLoS One. 17 (1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262221
Article Title

Prevalence and determinants of using complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of chronic illnesses: A multicenter study in Bangladesh

ERA Journal ID39745
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsShahjalal, Md., Kishor, Samar, Ahmed, Tanvi, Yasmin, Irin, Mahumud, Rashidul Alam and HossainI, Ahmed
Journal TitlePLoS One
Journal Citation17 (1)
Article Numbere0262221
Number of Pages13
Year2022
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1932-6203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262221
Web Address (URL)https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0262221
Abstract

Background
While conventional medicine (CM) is commonly used to treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is gaining popularity as a healthcare option in Bangladesh. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with using CAM solely and using CAM in conjunction with CM for chronic illness treatment among NCD patients in Bangladesh.

Methods
A multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted, including 549 adults with a confirmed chronic illness diagnosis from three tertiary care hospitals in Dhaka city. Interviews were used to gather socio-demographic data, while medical records were used to get information on chronic illnesses. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to determine the associated factors of utilizing CAM primarily and CAM use in conjunction with CM to manage the chronic disease.

Results
Out of 549 NCD patients (282 women [51.4%], mean [standard deviation] age 45.4 [12.8] years), 180 (32.8%) ever used CAM for the treatment of chronic illness. Also, 15.3% of patients exclusively used CAM among the NCD patients, while 17.5% used CAM in conjunction with CM. Homeopathy medicine was the most prevalent type of treatment among CAM users (52.2%). Furthermore, 55.5% of CAM users said they used it due to its less adverse effects, and 41.6% trusted its effectiveness for chronic illness. Elderly patients (≥60 years) preferred CAM in complementary with CM, but they did not rely only on CAM. According to the multinomial regression analysis, unmarried patients, predominantly in the younger age group, adopted CAM significantly for chronic illness treatment (Relative risk ratio, RRR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.12–0.71, reference = Unmarried). Patients in the high-income group used CAM in conjunction with CM (RRR = 6.26, 95% CI = 1.35–18.90, reference: low-income), whereas patients in the high-income group did not rely on CAM alone (RRR = 0.99, 95% CI = 0.34–2.85).

Conclusion
Although CM remains the mainstream of health care in Bangladesh, CAM services play an essential role in people’s health care, particularly in treating chronic illnesses. Physicians of Bangladesh should be aware that their patients may be using other services and be prepared to ask and answer questions regarding the risks and benefits of using CAM in addition to regular medical care. Thus, clinicians required to follow best-practice guidelines, which are currently not practiced in Bangladesh, when disseminating information regarding integrative techniques that combine CM and CAM approaches.

Keywordschronic illnesses; multicenter ; alternative medicine
Byline AffiliationsNorth South University, Bangladesh
Research Rats, Bangladesh
University of Sydney
School of Business
Centre for Health Research
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