Survey of women's attitudes to complementary medicines

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Aim: To assess the attitudes of women to complementary medicines. Method: A questionnaire covering demographic information and 30 questions related to complementary medicines was developed. The questionnaire was distributed to women resident in Wollongong, NSW, Australia by mail (n=785), with a further 793 distributed to complementary and conventional healthcare practices within the same postal zones. Results: The overall response rate was 31%. Respondents indicated that they are open to new alternatives in health (92%), that the potential of alternative medicines is largely undiscovered (65%), that complementary medicines are more than placebos (81%) and that they can be used in conjunction with conventional medicines (79%). Respondents also recognised the potential for interactions between complementary medicine and conventional drugs (66%). Eighty per cent disagreed with the statement that complementary medicines had nothing to offer them. Those visiting complementary practitioners viewed complementary medicines more favourably than those using conventional medical practices. Conclusion: This study has shown that women are generally open to complementary medicines and see them as a valuable addition to conventional health care. We have also shown that women recognise the potential limits of these medicines and trust the advice of pharmacists. This highlights the need for pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to be knowledgeable and non-judgmental when providing advice about complementary medicines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-58
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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