The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is prevalent among elderly individuals. While race and ethnicity may influence the choice of CAM, it is uncertain how this influence affects an individual's choice of CAM or conventional medicine. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this choice of CAM or conventional medicine might vary for different medical conditions. A survey of CAM use was performed on a convenience sample of 338 multi-ethnic urban elderly subjects who attended clinic at two large university-affiliated hospitals over 2 years. The survey asked about individual CAM therapies used, and whether subjects would prefer conventional (prescription or over-the-counter) or CAM (herbal or other) treatment for three different medical conditions: colds, insomnia, and back pain. Hispanic ethnicity and female gender were the best predictors of CAM use. Blacks were more likely than whites to utilize CAM. Hispanics were more likely to choose herbal medications to self-treat colds and insomnia than whites or blacks, or low-back pain than whites. More Hispanics chose herbal medications to treat insomnia than over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- Alternative medicine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Health Professions(all)