Use of non-vitamin, non-mineral (NVNM) supplements by hospitalized internal medicine patients and doctor-patient communication

Noah Samuels*, Rachel Y. Zisk-Rony, Shoshana Zevin, Evy L. Becker, Amos M. Yinnon, Menachem Oberbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Scopus citations


    Objective: To study non-vitamin, non-mineral (NVNM) supplements use and disclosure of among hospitalized internal medicine patients. Methods: A convenience sample of patients completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire examining use of and perceptions regarding NVNM supplements, and disclosure to medical personnel. Results: 280 patients were interviewed (54% female), 15.4% reporting NVNM supplement use. This practice was more prevalent among female patients (p=0.045), more educated (p<0.001) and patients with more impaired quality-of-life, measured by the SF-12 tool (p<0.020). The most common factor influencing NVNM supplement use was a physician's recommendation. Most (74%) patients using NVNM supplements reported having disclosed this practice to community-based physicians, with only 23.7% disclosing to hospital staff. Six patients reported using supplements at the exclusion of conventional medication, with potentially serious implications. Conclusion: While the majority of patients using NVNM supplements are sharing this information with their primary-care physicians, there is little disclosure of this practice to hospital staff. This may be due to a perceived negative attitude of medical professionals to complementary medicine, and a lack of awareness by hospital staff regarding such practices. Practice implications: Hospital-based medical professionals need to be aware of the use of NVNM supplements and the resulting implications by their internal medicine patients.

    Original languageAmerican English
    Pages (from-to)392-398
    Number of pages7
    JournalPatient Education and Counseling
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Dec 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This study was funded in part by the Mirsky Foundation at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center , which had no involvement in the study design; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


    • Disclosure
    • Herb-drug interactions
    • Herbal medicine
    • Internal medicine


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