This study aimed to determine the knowledge about asthma and the prevalence, disclosure and evaluation of the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among asthmatic patients.
This cross-sectional study was conducted on 95 patients diagnosed with asthma in a primary healthcare centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia using a self-administered questionnaire.
Ninety-five patients with a mean age of 47.06 years (±12.8) participated, the majority were female (66.7%), Malay (72.6%). The prevalence of ever-CAM use was 61.1%. 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 (P = 0.021). Sixty-three females (66.8%) used CAM compared to 14 males (43.8%) (P = 0.014). Thirty-six (62.1%) CAM users had not discussed use of CAM with their doctors. The main reason of non-disclosure was the doctor never asked (55.6%), and the main sources of information about CAM were family and relatives (46.6%). There was no significant difference between use of CAM and knowledge about asthma. The majority of asthmatic patients used rubs (39%), foods (16.9%) and herbs (16.9%). About 76% of asthmatic patients perceived CAM as good for their disease management. On linear multiple regression, Malay race (P = 0.026) and female gender (P = 0.006) were significant predictors of CAM use.
Use of CAM among asthmatic patients is relatively high, particularly among females. The majority of asthmatic patients valued the use of CAM. Non-disclosure was high in this study. Health education of asthmatic patients about CAM is highly recommended.