Complementary and alternative medicine practices among type 2 diabetes patients in Pakistan: A qualitative insight

Allah Bukhsh, Siew Hua Gan, Bey Hing Goh, Tahir Mehmood Khan

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    Introduction: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common in patients with diabetes. The present qualitative study aimed to explore patients’ beliefs and practices related to CAM use in patients with type 2 diabetes living in Lahore, Pakistan. Methods: Qualitative one to one in-depth tape-recorded interviews, using a semi-structured guide were performed with patients with type 2 diabetes, from the outpatient departments of two hospitals in Lahore. Results: Thirty two patients were interviewed. Overall, the findings of this study indicated religious practices (n = 12; 37.5%), such as Holy Quran recitations, offering of prayers, drinking holy water and seeking help from God, alongside utilizing conventional therapy were the most frequently reported complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) employed by the majority of the participants. All practices were claimed to have significantly positive impacts on health. The use of herbal therapy (n = 5; 15.6%), home remedies (n = 3; 9.4%) and homeopathic medicine (n = 2; 6.35%) and were the biological forms of CAM reported by most participants. Strong opinion and pressure by the community and family members, compounded by desires to achieve complete cure, were among the key motivators reported for CAM use in approximately one third of the respondents. In addition, poor glycemic control and avoidance of side effects with CAM were the key factors affecting participants’ therapy decision making. Conclusion: Religious practices, herbal and household remedies were the main CAM practices observed in this study. Proper understanding of patients’ perspectives towards CAM can help health care professionals adopt a more patient-centred approach, optimize good pharmaceutical care planning and ensure safe practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-49
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


    • Complementary and alternative medicine
    • Herbal therapy
    • Homeopathic treatment
    • Pakistan
    • Self-care
    • Spirituality

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