Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and herbal therapies, are accepted worldwide, and have been important from medical, sociological and economic perspectives, among haemodialysis (HD) patients. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the use of CAM among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who are undergoing HD.
Face-to-face interviews of patients with ESRD undergoing HD from ten outpatient renal departments at a national level in Palestine were conducted from June 2014 to January 2015. A survey questionnaire, which included questions on socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, and on the CAM therapies that were used, was administered.
Out of 267 patients interviewed, 172 patients used at least one type of CAM in the last month prior to the interview, and thus the utilisation rate was 64.4 %. Forty one (15.4 %) patients reported using one type of CAMs, while 18.7 % used two different CAMs and 30.3 % used more than two types of CAMs for their health status. Of the patients who used CAM, herbal therapies were used most often (43.5 %), followed by honey (35.6 %), diet (22.8 %), and exorcism in Islam (16.9 %). The herbal therapies mentioned most often wereNigella sativa L. (18.7 %), followed by Salvia officinalis L. (16.9 %), and Pimpinella anisum L. (10.5 %).
In conclusion, the prevalence of CAM is relatively high in the selected population. Most patients used biological therapies such as herbal remedies, thus highlighting a greater need for patient education regarding CAM therapies and possible herb-drug interactions. Health care providers must be aware of the potential benefits and risks related to CAM use. There is a need for more clinical research pertaining to CAM to reach stronger evidence regarding potential benefits and risks related to CAM use.