Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use among a group of patients with type 2 diabetes receiving outpatient care in Singapore

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This study aims to identify patterns and evaluate factors associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among type 2 diabetes patients in Singapore. A cross-sectional descriptive study using a self-administered questionnaire was performed among type 2 diabetes patients at an outpatient diabetes centre, and participants' medical records were accessed for diabetes complications and conventional medicine for managing diabetes. Among 304 participants, 43.4% used CAM and 61.2% did not inform health-care professionals of their CAM use. Three most common CAM were nutritional supplements, Chinese herbal medicine and massage. Friends (44.2%), partner and family (38%) were top sources of information for CAM, whereas factors significantly associated with CAM use were gender (P = 0.049), total monthly household income (P = 0.048) and frequency of self-monitoring of blood glucose (P = 0.036). Results highlight a need for improved health-care professionals–patients communication and for health-care professionals to be educated on CAM to provide relevant education to patients.

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