The use of complementary and alternative products including Biological Based Therapy (BBT) has increased among patients with various medical illnesses and conditions. The studies assessing the prevalence of BBT use among patients with cardiovascular diseases are limited. Therefore, an evaluation of BBT in this patient population would be beneficial. This was a survey designed to determine the effects of demographics on the use of Biological Based Therapy (BBT) in patients with cardiovascular diseases. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of the education level on the use of BBT in cardiovascular patients. This survey also assessed the perceptions of users regarding the safety/efficacy of BBT, types of BBT used and potential BBT-drug interactions.
The survey instrument was designed to assess the findings. Patients were interviewed from February 2001 to December 2002. 198 inpatients with cardiovascular diseases (94 BBT users and 104 non-users) in a university hospital were included in the study.
Users had a significantly higher level of education than non-users (college graduate: 28 [30%] versus 12 [12%], p = 0.003). Top 10 BBT products used were vitamin E [41(43.6%)], vitamin C [30(31.9%)], multivitamins [24(25.5%)], calcium [19(20.2%)], vitamin B complex [17(18.1%)], fish oil [12(12.8%)], coenzyme Q10 [11(11.7%)], glucosamine [10(10.6%)], magnesium [8(8.5%)] and vitamin D [6(6.4%)]. Sixty percent of users' physicians knew of the BBT use. Compared to non-users, users believed BBT to be safer (p < 0.001) and more effective (p < 0.001) than prescription drugs. Forty-two potential drug-BBT interactions were identified.
Incidence of use of BBT in cardiovascular patients is high (47.5%), as is the risk of potential drug interaction. Health care providers need to monitor BBT use in patients with cardiovascular diseases.