Unconventional therapy (UT) is a therapeutic practice of alternative and complementary medicine that is not currently considered an integral part of modern medical practice. The aim of this article is to investigate the experience of Saudi patients with UT modalities in the treatment of asthma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
We carried out a cross-sectional study of asthma patients referred to King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the year 2004. Information was collected using a pre-designed questionnaire administered through interviews.
Two hundred consecutive patients with a mean age of 52.3 years (±18.7) were included in this study. Sixty-nine (34.5%) of those patients used some form of UT in the previous year. There was a tendency to use UT among the older age group (P = 0.029) and among those with longer duration of disease (P = 0.009). However, there was no significant correlation observed between the use of UT and gender, FEV1, or disease control. The most commonly used form of UT was recitation of Holy Quran (9%), honey (24.5%), herbs (23.5%), cautery (12%), and blackseed (10%). There was no significant correlation between disease control and the use of modalities.
Unconventional therapy is frequently practiced by asthma patients in Saudi Arabia, who commonly believe that UT will lead to improvement. The lack of evidence necessitates the fostering of a national project to address the practice of UT.