Prevalence of and Associations for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use among Apparently Healthy Individuals in the Philippine LIFECARE Cohort

  • Mary Ann J. Ladia
  • Olivia T. Sison
  • Nina T. Castillo-Carandang
  • Rody G. Sy
  • Elmer Jasper B. Llanes
  • Paul Ferdinand M. Reganit
  • Felix Eduardo R. Punzalan
  • Wilbert Allan G. Gumatay
  • Felicidad V. Velandria
Keywords: complementary medicine, alternative medicine, traditional medicine, herbal medicines, Philippines


Objectives. The study determined the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and its association with socio-demographic and clinical characteristics among adult Filipinos aged 20-50 years.

Methods. Data from the Philippine cohort of the Life Course Study in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology (LIFECARE) in Luzon were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression determined the factors associated with the use of CAM.

Results. A total of 3,072 participants were included: average age of 36 years, more females, mostly married, living in the rural areas, and employed. The prevalence of CAM use in this population was 43%. The commonly sought traditional medicine practitioners were manghihilot (bone setter or partera) and albularyo (herbalist), and participants used herbal medicines and supplements.
Use of CAM was more likely among older participants, females, living in rural areas, had medical consultation in the last six months, experienced moderate to extreme pain, and with poor perception of general health.

Conclusion. The use of CAM is prevalent among apparently healthy individuals aged 20-50 years. Further studies should uncover reasons for CAM use.


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