Use of complementary, alternative medicine prevalent among Taiwan’s chronic kidney patients

CKD continues to pose significant challenges globally, and as it progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), patients experience heightened mortality rates and a decline in quality of life. Despite efforts to provide multi-disciplinary care and interventions, adherence to conventional treatments remains a challenge. Consequently, many CKD patients in Taiwan have turned to CAM in pursuit of improved well-being and quality of life. 

A recent study conducted by researchers at Taiwan’s Chang Gung University College of Medicine and China Medical University has shed light on the prevalence and types of CAM used by CKD patients, as well as their tendency not to disclose their CAM use to their healthcare providers and the subsequent health implications of this non-disclosure.

Comparison with international surveys highlighted variations in CAM usage rates among CKD patients across different countries. While the prevalence of CAM use in Taiwan was lower compared to that in Egypt, it exceeded rates reported in Turkey, Malaysia and Korea. Disparities in CAM usage were attributed to factors such as cultural influences, geographical location and healthcare policies.

Patterns among the patients

Over a period spanning March 2021 to June 2023, researchers conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire survey involving 275 pre-dialysis patients with CKD who were receiving outpatient care at a nephrology clinic at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung. The study focused on patients who had not undergone dialysis treatment or kidney transplants.

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