Influence of race and ethnicity on alternative medicine as a self-treatment preference for common medical conditions in a population of multi-ethnic urban elderly

E. Paul Cherniack, Jose Ceron-Fuentes, Hermes Florez, Lauran Sandals, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Palacios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • Alternative medicine
  • Elderly
  • Ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Professions(all)

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