Assessing Patients’ Preference for Integrating Herbal Medicine Within Primary Care Services in Saudi Arabia

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Abstract

Background:

Family physician advice and follow-up may be important to reduce the negative aspects of locally marketed herbal remedies and improve the patient outcome. There is a lack of studies assessing the preference of Saudi patients for the integration of herbal medicine into primary care services.

Objectives:

To examine the knowledge, attitudes, and practice of Saudi patients toward herbal medicine and its integration into primary care services.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted between February and March 2013 among adult patients attending the family medicine clinics at a primary care center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire (27 items) was developed and administered to all patients.

Results:

A total of 240 patients were included in the current analysis. The average age was 33.5 ± 9.9 years, and 61% of the patients were women. Approximately 60% of the patients were aware of herbal medicine use and its possible side effects. More than 85% of the patients believed that herbal containers should be labeled with safety information. Approximately 71% of the patients had a favorable attitude toward integrated services. Approximately 65% of the patients used herbal remedies for themselves, and 42% used them for their children. Preference for integrated services was significantly associated with female sex, better knowledge, positive attitudes toward safety and regulations, and higher level of practice.

Conclusions:

A good knowledge and a very favorable attitude toward integrating herbal medicine into primary care services were found among a group of patients attending a primary care center in Saudi Arabia.

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