Goals: To assess the incidence of oral complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage by gastroenterology patients at a single university center and compare against controls.
Background: The public awareness and usage of CAM have increased. The use of CAM has been described in patients with functional bowel disorders; however, their role in patients with gastrointestinal disease is less clear.
Study: Patients attending luminal gastroenterology clinics and customers at local supermarkets completed a 30-point, structured questionnaire assessing their use of CAM.
Results: A total of 1,409 subjects were recruited. The incidence of CAM use was 49.5% for inflammatory bowel disease, 50.9% for irritable bowel syndrome, 20% for general gastrointestinal diseases, and 27% for controls. Pearson's χ2 tests showed that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome were more likely to use CAM than controls (P < 0.001). Binary logistic regression analysis showed that females were more likely to take CAM than men (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: The percentage of CAM users among patients with IBD is similar to those with a functional diagnosis. Increasing numbers of IBD patients are using CAM in addition to conventional therapy. Awareness of this may prevent adverse CAM and conventional drug interactions.