Use of complementary alternative medicine in patients admitted to internal medicine wards

T. Azaz-Livshits, M. Muszkat, M. Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate rate and type of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients admitted to a medical ward. To identify demographic and disease or treatment-related factors associated with CAM use in these patients. To evaluate the awareness of physicians regarding this practice and whether CAM use had contributed to hospital admission. Methods: This study is based on consecutive interviews and chart reviews of 180 patients admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine, Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel. 29 patients were excluded due to impaired cognitive state and 2 patients refused to participate in the study. Patients were asked questions concerning sociodemographic characteristics and CAM use: type, time, duration of use, causes, outcomes and communication about CAM use with their hospital and family physicians. Information about background diseases, acute diagnoses that led to hospitalization, symptoms on admission, drugs taken at home prior to admission was provided by chart reviews. Results: 26% of patients reported a lifetime history of CAM use and 11% during the month prior to admission. Younger age, higher education and Israeli, USA or European origin was associated with more frequent CAM use. Hospital physicians were informed only about 12% of the CAM courses in the month prior to admission, whereas family physicians were aware of about half of them. No direct or indirect harmful effects of CAM were noticed in this study. No essential changes in the regimen of drugs or other conventional treatments due to CAM use were found. If the condition deteriorated, patients did not defer their visit to hospital because of CAM use. Conclusions: With reservations due to small sample size, it appears that CAM use was not an important factor influencing hospital admissions to a medical ward. Awareness of the hospital physicians regarding CAM use in their patients during the month prior to admission was much lower than that of the family physicians (12% vs. 51.3%).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)539-547
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • CAM
  • Complementary or alternative medicine
  • Hospital pharmacoepidemiology
  • Physicians' attitude
  • Physicians' awareness


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