Half of Patients With Diabetes Use Alternative Medicine

Miriam Tucker

Disclosures

March 18, 2021

Takeaway

  • Among people with diabetes, the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is 51%.

  • Of those using CAM, two-thirds do not discuss it with their doctors, according to this meta-analysis.

Why this matters

  • CAM can affect diabetes management via direct supplement-drug interaction or indirectly by affecting medication adherence.

  • Authors: clinicians should ask about CAM use to check on interactions and ensure treatment optimization and medication adherence. 

Study design

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis including 38 articles published from 2009 to 2019 of CAM use in adults with diabetes.

  • Funding: University of Birmingham, UK.

Key results

  • The most common CAM types mentioned were acupuncture (6 studies), mind-body therapies (6), religious/spiritual healing (5), and homeopathy (4).

  • Pooled prevalence of CAM use was 51% (95% CI, 43%-59%). 

  • By region, use prevalence was 76% in Europe, 55% in Africa, and 45% in North America.

  • Pooled prevalence ratios (95% CI):

    • Males vs females: 0.86 (0.81-0.91).

    • Type 2 vs type 1 diabetes: 1.00 (0.83-1.20).

  • Prevalence (95% CIs) of CAM use as:

    • Additional treatment to prescribed medicine: 78% (56%-94%).

    • Alternative to prescribed medicine: 21% (12%-31%).

  • Among those using CAM, 67% (95% CI, 58%-76%) did not disclose it to health care professionals.

Limitations

  • Data collection methods, nature of settings varied among studies.

  • Only English-language publications were included.

 

Alzahrani AS, Price MJ, Greenfield SM, Paudyal V. Global prevalence and types of complementary and alternative medicines use amongst adults with diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 8 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s00228-021-03097-x. PMID: 33686454 View full text  

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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