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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to a wide range of clinical therapies outside of conventional medicine used along with the physician prescribed drugs to complement the treatment. It is widely accepted and used across the globe. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of use of CAM among the general population and to determine the acceptability, extent and pattern of CAM use. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was done among the general population in South India. 300 participants aged >18 years were included in the study irrespective of their genders. An interviewer-administered questionnaire with 20 questions was used to assess CAM usage. The statistical analysis was done by Chi-square test using SPSS version 25. The mean age was 50.39 (± 15.67) years. CAM usage was significantly influenced by age, educational qualification, occupation, geographical area and accessibility to a health care facility. The prevalence of CAM usage was found to be 62%. Homeopathy/Herbal medicine (34%) was the most commonly used CAM. About 35% had used CAM without the knowledge of their treating physician. More than 60% believe that CAM is safe with fewer side effects and around half of them had symptomatic relief following CAM usage. Our study results indicate the need for more studies testing various CAM modalities exploring their uses, adverse effects & interactions with other drugs, which in turn can guide the physicians in their treatment.
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