Costs and drivers of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in people with type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease

Jean Marie Spinks, Bruce Phillip Hollingsworth, Lenore Hilda Manderson, Vivian Lin, Rachel Elizabeth Canaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To describe the key drivers and costs to individuals of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in a population with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Methods Two datasets were utilised. The first derived from a purpose-designed survey of individuals in Australia, all with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease (n = 2705). As the vast majority (91 ) of the sample had type 2 diabetes, socio-demographic variables were compared to those of people with type 2 diabetes and the general population using the National Health Survey (NHS) of Australia. Step-wise multinomial logit and ordered logit regressions were used for the main analysis. Results People with type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease appear more likely than the general population to use both CAM products and practitioners. Concurrent chronic conditions appear to be the key motivators of CAM use, however, CAM use is also associated with lower quality of life. Previous attendance at a chronic disease self-management programme and current attendance at a social or health-related support group were also associated with an increased likelihood of CAM use. Median CAM expenditure was estimated at AU 240 per annum for practitioner use, and AU 360 per annum for product use. Conclusions Chronic conditions appear to be strong independent predictors of CAM use in this population, raising many issues for integrative medicine. In particular, health professionals should be aware that this population are more likely to be using both conventional medicine and CAM, highlighting the need for coordination of care and communication between professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44 - 53
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this