Details of Publication 802 for Project A081A:

Bowe S, Adams J, Lui C & Sibbritt D. A longitudinal analysis of self-prescribed complementary and alternative medicine use by a nationally representative sample of 19,783 Australian women, 2006–2010. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2015; 23(5): 699-704

Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is increasingly popular amongst generalpopulations around the world with women constituting substantial CAM users. However, self-prescribed CAM use does raise potential safety concerns and so it is important to identify those risk factors associatedwith self-prescribed CAM use.Methods: Data was obtained from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). Longitudinal data analyses were conducted on questionnaire data from the 1973–78 cohort (n = 9,145) and the 1946–51 cohort (n = 10,638), collected over the period 2006–2010.Results: In the 1973–78 cohort, use of self-prescribed CAM was 73.2% in 2006 and 75.3% in 2009. For the1946–51 cohort, use of self-prescribed CAM was 73.9% in 2007 and 74.7% in 2010. There were similar levelsof use of individual self-prescribed CAM, with the exception that the use of herbal medicine was muchhigher among the 1946–51 cohort (20% vs. 27%). There was a substantial increase over three years in theuse of vitamins/minerals in both cohorts (21% and 19%, respectively). In contrast, there was a considerabledecline over three years in use of aromatherapy oils in both cohorts (34% and 28%, respectively).Conclusion: Self-prescribed CAM use is popular amongst women in Australia and it is important that con-ventional practitioners providing women’s health care be cognizant of such use amongst their patients. Inorder to ensure effective practice, there is a need for further research to explore women’s decision-makingand experiences around self-prescribed CAM use.

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