Fam Pract. 1998 Oct; 15(5): 411-4.
Use of complementary and alternative medicine among primary care patients.
OBJECTIVE: Complementary and alternative medicine use is increasing worldwide, and the expenses are high while its effectiveness is still in debate. The aim of this survey was to evaluate the utilization of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel. METHOD: Four-hundred and eighty patients in two primary care clinics have participated in the survey and answered an anonymous questionnaire. RESULTS: Ninety patients (18.7%) have consulted an alternative medicine therapist at least once in the past. Both younger (0-19) and older (65 and older) age groups were associated with a low rate of complementary and alternative medicine utilization. In the adult population, an academic education was associated with a higher utilization rate. The most frequently used methods were homeopathy (34.6%) and reflexology (18.7 %). Musculo-skeletal (20.6%) and respiratory (15.9%) complaints were the most frequent causes for complementary and alternative medicine consultation. The subjective outcome of complementary and alternative medicine treatment was considered beneficial in almost half of the cases and partially beneficial in another 34.6%. CONCLUSIONS: Utilization of complementary and alternative medicine is as widespread in Israel as in other Western countries. Utilization rates were found to be associated with age and education but not with gender or origin.