Prevalence and Pattern of Traditional and Complementary Alternative Medicine Use in Diabetic Patients in Dubai, UAE

Usama ALAlami, Khulood A. Saeed, Munawwar A. Khan


Arab Journal of Nutrition and Exercise                                                                                                       

ISSN:2518-6590           Published on 31st August, 2017


Background: The current study explored the prevalence and pattern of traditional and complementary alternative medicine (TCAM) use, its perceived benefits and possible impact on health outcomes amongst diabetics in Dubai, UAE.

Objectives: Diabetes is highly prevalent in the UAE, with diabetics potentially not complying with the prescribed conventional medicines, or preferring to use of traditional and complementary alternative medicines. The current study therefore sheds light on these two areas.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional pilot study was conducted in 4 healthcare facilities in Dubai using quantitative data collection methods. Using a systematic random sampling method, 145 diabetic participants completed a self-reported questionnaire. Measures in the questionnaire included traditional and complementary alternative medicine use, and perceived benefits. SPSS version 21 was used for result analysis. Chi-square test was used to confirm significance amongst various groups.

Results: Amongst 145 diabetic participants recruited, 66.9% were female, and 57.9% had undergraduate degree. Majority of participants (95.2%) had type II diabetes. Participants age was between 20 to 79 years. The prevalence of TCAM use amongst the participants was 21.4%, with the majority of users being female (27.8%). TCAM use was more common amongst housewives (28.6%). None of the TCAM users had the intervention prescribed by a health specialist, and the majority (51.6%) used it for the purpose of slowing the progression of the disease. More than half (58.1%) of TCAM users reported receiving the desired effect, and 77.4% used TCAM in combination with the prescribed conventional medicine.

Conclusion: The current study confirmed the un-prescribed use of TCAM amongst participants in Dubai, UAE. Further studies are required to elaborate on the interaction between TCAM and prescribed conventional medicines.


Alternative Medicine; Diabetes Mellitus; Traditional Therapies; Herbs

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