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Background: Although Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has been the standard of therapy in Asia for centuries, it started receiving more attention in the U.S. in the last three decades.

Objectives: The primary study objective was to explore individuals' perspectives of CAM. A secondary objective was to describe individuals' perceptions of pharmacists’ roles in facilitating their use of these services and products.

Methods: Data were obtained from the 2015 and 2016 National Consumer Surveys on the Medication Experience and Pharmacist Roles. Data were collected from adults residing in the United States via on-line, self-administered surveys coordinated by Qualtrics Panels between April 28 and June 22, 2015 (n = 26,173) and between March 14 and 30, 2016 (n = 10,500). This study focused on written comments made in the surveys with Content Conventional Analysis applied to the text. Four researchers were trained to conduct coding to assess inter-judge reliability. The four judges had a high level of agreement which was greater than 0.95 for category type.

Results: Out of a total of 36,673 respondents, 80% (29,426) submitted written comments at the end of the survey. Of these, 2,178 comments were about medications or health and 170 (8%) comments specifically about CAM, of which 136 (6%) were usable for analysis. Conventional Content Analysis revealed five themes:1)The role of pharmaceutical and insurance companies in CAM; 2) Overuse of medications; 3) Physicians can play a role in creating a balance between prescription use and CAM; 4) Individuals believe that CAM is more effective than Western medicines and prefer it; 5) Individuals want pharmacists to have a better understanding of CAM. The results of this study reveal individuals’ opinions regarding how they want CAM to be considered in their interactions with their healthcare team.

Conclusion: Emergent themes suggest that individuals are interested in receiving more professionals’ healthcare to become more knowledgeable about CAM.


This article was originally published in INNOVATIONS in pharmacy, volume 11, issue 2, in 2020.


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