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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 5177-5182

Attitudes and practices of complementary and alternative medicine among patients attending primary care center in Saudi Arabia: A prospective cross-sectional study

Family Medicine Center, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amal S Alazmi
Family Medicine Center, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh 12625
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_871_20

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Introduction and objectives: Estimated complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage in Saudi Arabia is 70%. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) regulates the license-based practices of various CAM modalities including procedures, herbs, and devices. As an aid to help primary care physicians for understanding CAM practices among general population, this study aimed to explore the prevalence of CAM along with its most common modality, and to understand attitude and practices among patients attending primary care center in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted among 403 literate patients aged more than 18 years, coming to the primary care center for regular check-up from 1st April 2019 to 1st April 2020 Saudi Arabia. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaire. Results: Around 44.5% participants had practiced one method of alternative medicine in their life. Majority of participants who attended primary care centers belonged to the age group of 18–39 years (71.1%). The most common used method of alternative medicine was honey healing. More than half of the study participants had heard about the CAM from their family and friends. Nearly 45.7% had stated that the CAM cannot be used without consulting a medical professional. Nearly 3/4th population used it for treating up to 3 ailments. Conclusion: Use of alternative medicine was found to be prevalent in Riyadh. Family and friends were recognized as gatekeepers for propagating information about CAM usage in the society. Primary healthcare physicians need to be trained on prevalent practices of CAM to understand the societal needs.

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