Ninety-five patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 47.06 years (±12.8). There were 63 (66.3%) females and 32 (32.7%) males. The majority of the respondents were Malay (69, 72.6%), followed by Indian (20, 21.1%) and Chinese (6, 6.3%). Seventy-six (80%) participants had not completed their tertiary education while 19 (20%) had a university degree. The majority of the population had disease duration of more than two years (71.6%) . Fifty-eight (61.1%) respondents reported that they had used CAM at least once since the diagnosis of asthma. Forty-five (47.4%) respondents were still using CAM. The non-ever-CAM users’ mean age was 51 ± 13.9 years while the ever-CAM users′ mean age was 44.5 ± 11.5 years. This difference in age between the two groups was statistically significant (P = 0.021). The association between sociodemographic factors and use of CAM was assessed using Chi square test. Sixty-three females (66.8%) used CAM compared to 14 males (43.8%) (OR = 3.0, 95% CI 1.2-7.2, P = 0.014). No significant association was found with other sociodemographic factors . On multiple logistic regression, significant predictors of CAM use were female gender (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.5-10.0, P = 0.006) and Malay race (OR = 13.0, 95% CI 1.3-127.8, P = 0.026). The total model was significant ( P = 0.003) and accounted for 0.19 of the variance .
Demographic characteristics of the study population
Association between sociodemographic variables and CAM use
Multiple logistic regression, predictors of CAM use among asthmatic patients
CAM users who reported regularity on conventional treatment were 47 (81%) and CAM users with regular visit to clinic were 41 (71.1%). Thirty-six (62.1%) CAM users had not discussed use of CAM with their doctors. Regarding reasons of non-disclosure, 20 patients (55.6%) answered “the doctor never asked”, nine (25%) reported “they did not know they should”, while three (8.3%) answered “don’t think doctor knows about the topic” and three (8.3%) said “doctor would be dismissive”. Only one (2.8%) patient answered “not enough time during office visit”. There was no significant association between sociodemographic factors and disclosure of use of CAM and regularity on conventional treatment. The reasons given by asthmatic patients for the use of CAM were: “just to try” (24.1%), followed by “avoidance of side-effects” (22.4%) and “as emergency treatment (3.4%)” and “dissatisfaction with conventional care (3.4%)”. shows the reasons for the use of CAM in the study population.
Asthmatic patients’ reasons for CAM use
The scores of the five questions about asthma knowledge were summed and recoded into two categories; knowledgeable and non-knowledgeable (median = 3 was used as the cutoff point). Of the total sample, 71 (74.7%) were knowledgeable about their disease. Among CAM users, 44 (62%) were knowledgeable. Among non-CAM users, there were 27 knowledgeable ones (38%). However, this difference was not statistically significant (OR = 1.16, 95% CI 0.45-2.98, P = 0.752).
Twenty-nine (50%) CAM users tried multiple modalities, while (50%) used only one modality. The commonest modality was the use of rubs such as oils and camphor followed by food or other nutritional supplements such as honey, fish oil, garlic, ginseng, Chinese and Indian herbs. The less common modality was manipulations including reflexology, cupping and massage. shows the different modalities of the use of CAM among asthmatic patients.
Modalities of CAM use among asthmatic patients
Regarding the source of information about CAM, family and relatives were the main source of information (46.6%) followed by friends (34.5%), media (10.3%) and healthcare providers including CAM practitioners (8.6%). shows the sources of information for CAM.
Sources of information for CAM use among asthmatic patients
The general patients’ evaluation about CAM showed that the majority of asthmatics (75.8%) valued CAM as good for their disease, while 24.2% of them reported no benefit of CAM for asthma.