Patterns of usage of complementary and alternative medicine in surgical patients: a cross-sectional study from Palestine

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Aya Egbaria
Arwa Omary
Noora Abu Baji
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Background The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is on the rise; various global studies have documented the use of CAM by surgical patients in the preoperative period, with rates of herbal medications and other non-herbal treatments ranging from 12% to 69%. Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate patterns of CAM use among general surgery patients and if postoperative patient-perceived problems and actual complications may be related to some of these patterns. Methods From December 2020 to April 2021, a descriptive cross-sectional study was undertaken in Palestine. using face-to-face interview questionnaire. Participants were asked questions regarding socio-demographics, clinical information, CAM usage, reasons for its use, and opinions on its efficacy. Results Of the 300 surgical patients that were interviewed in this study, 252 (84%) reported that they had ever used CAM, while a total of 122 (48.4%) had used CAM before their surgery, 83% of the respondents used herbal methods, whereas 55% of them used non-herbal methods. CAM use among our study population was not linked to any specific sociodemographic characteristics. Collected data has shown that the most often used herbs among surgical patients are Sage (82.7%), Anise (74.3%). %). A significant correlation was found between patient's educational level (p < 0.001) and the number of therapies used. Health insurance status also showed a significant association to CAM use (p = 0.004) and the number of therapies used (p = 0.049). Conclusions Herbal methods use is common among surgical patients in Palestine, and this is consistent with the enormous increase in the use of CAM. Therefore, awareness should be raised among health care providers regarding the risks and benefits of CAM use.