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Patient’s Practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the Management of Epilepsy

Boon-Tiang Lau , Mohd Makmor-Bakry , Hui Jan Tan , Siew-Yen Ng , Adyani Md Redzuan


Background: In Malaysia, the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage among patients with epilepsy was unknown. We aimed to assess epilepsy patient’s practice of complementary and alternative medicine, as well as their beliefs about medicines for the management of epilepsy. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Neurology Clinic in a tertiary teaching hospital in Malaysia. A convenience sampling method was used to recruit epilepsy patients in the study. The main outcome measures were the types of CAM being used and beliefs about medicines questionnaire-epilepsy specific (necessity-concerns differential score). Results: A total of 61 patients completed the questionnaire distributed to them, yielding an 89.7% response rate. The majority of the respondents were ≤30 years old, Malay, single, employed, had lower monthly income, and on monotherapy of anti-epileptic drugs. There was 42.6% of total respondents used complementary and alternative medicine. The mean Necessity-Concerns Differential score was 0.37(SD±0.768). The bivariable analysis showed employment status was significantly associated with the use of complementary and alternative medicine (χ² = 8.548, p=0.003). There was also a significant association between education levels and the Necessity-Concerns Differential score [t (59) = 2.425, p=0.018]. The results from multiple logistic regression suggested that respondents’ employment status significantly influenced the use of CAM. Those who were employed/self-employed had an increased odds of 3 times (AOR=3.375, 95% CI 1.154:9.867) in using the therapy compared with those who were not employed. Conclusion: The majority of the epilepsy patients were non-user of the therapy, and convinced of the necessity of anti-epileptic drugs‎.

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