Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in a Heterogeneous Sample of Women
This study examined prevalence of biologically-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use in adult women receiving care at three different sites in a health care system and to explore associated use of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Prevalence Survey (CAMPS) assessed frequency, quantity and reason for use of 36 biologically-based CAMs and communication with a physician/ pharmacist about use. CAMPS also assessed depressive symptoms and prior week use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Of 289 participants, 83% reported CAM use in their lifetime, with 64% of respondents reporting regular use of at least one CAM. Only 51% of those using CAM reported informing their physician/pharmacist about it. African American women were less likely to report use than Caucasian women. Use was more prevalent among women reporting regular alcohol and/or caffeine use. Use of CAM is prevalent in this diverse sample of women. Underreporting to medical providers suggests a need for screening in healthcare settings. Failure to do so could increase risk for interactions between CAM and prescribed medications. Further, the association between CAM use and regular or problematic use of alcohol or caffeine consumption warrants further study focusing on potential consequences.