Investigation into the use of complementary and alternative medicine and affecting factors in Turkish asthmatic patients

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Abstract

Aims.

The purpose of this study was to examine the frequency of complementary and alternative medicine usage in asthmatic patients living in the west of Turkey, the most frequently used complementary and alternative medicine methods and socio-demographic factors affecting this and factors related to the disease.

Background.

While the rate of complementary and alternative medicine usage in asthmatic patients and the reasons for using it vary, practices specific to different countries and regions are of interest. Differing cultural and social factors even in geographically similar regions can affect the type of complementary and alternative medicine used.

Methods.

Two hundred asthmatic patients registered in the asthma outpatient clinic of a large hospital in Turkey and who had undergone pulmonary function tests within the previous six months were included in this study, which was planned according to a descriptive design. The patients filled out a questionnaire on their demographic characteristics and complementary and alternative medicine usage.

Results.

The proportion of patients who reported using one or more of the complementary and alternative medicine methods was 63·0%. Of these patients, 61·9% were using plants and herbal treatments, 53·2% were doing exercises and 36·5% said that they prayed. The objectives of their use of complementary and alternative medicine were to reduce asthma-related complaints (58%) and to feel better (37·8%). The proportion of people experiencing adverse effects was 3·3% (n = 4). Factors motivating asthmatic patients to use complementary and alternative medicine were the existence of comorbid diseases and a long period since diagnosis (p < 0·05). No statistically significant difference was found between the use of complementary and alternative medicine and the severity of the disease, pulmonary function test parameters, the number of asthma attacks or hospitalisations because of asthma within the last year (p > 0·05).

Relevance to clinical practice.

Understanding by nurses of the causes and patterns of the use of complementary and alternative medicine in asthmatic patients helps them in directing patient care and patient safety. Nurses should conduct comprehensive diagnostics in the light of complementary and alternative medicine use, and they should be aware of the potential risks.

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