Knowledge, attitudes and practices of type 1 diabetes patients regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
Sanjay Kalra1, Satish Kumar1, Bharti Kalra1, Navneet Agrawal2, Amit Sharma1 & Vinay Prusty3
This multicentric, observational, non interventional study of patients with type 1 diabetes observed their knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including nutraceuticals. One hundred and thirty-five subjects with type 1 diabetes, aged <20 years, and their parents were surveyed using a structured pre-tested questionnaire.
The cohort included 65.92% boys, 37.04% rural dwellers and 31.85% patients with duration of diabetes <1 year. 51.85% were aware of nutraceuticals, while 100% were aware of alternative systems of medicine (Ayurveda, homeopathy, Unani).
Of 100% respondents felt that CAM had no adverse effects, but only 51.85% thought that CAM was effective. Of these (n=70), 94.28% were taking nutraceuticals, 22.85% homeopathy and 11.43% Ayurvedic drugs, along with insulin. The nutraceuticals included aloe vera, bitter gourd and fenugreek seeds (35.71%, 58.57%, 44.28% respectively).
All the patients who were taking CAM (n=66) said they would continue doing so. The common reasons for this were cited: reduction of dose of insulin (100.00%), feeling of well being (50.00%), prevention of complications (36.36%), and lack of harmful effects (60.60%).
The average HbA1c of CAM-taking and non-CAM patients did not differ (9.12±2.24 vs 9.55±2.22; P=NS). Quality of life, as measured by WHO-5 score was better in the CAM group (4.64±0.50 vs 3.91±0.83; P<0.05).
This study highlights the high usage of nutraceuticals and CAM in patients of type 1 diabetes in north and central India. It also reveals a higher quality of life with CAM, the significance of which needs to be studied further.