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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2016 Gennaio-Febbraio;175(1-2):27-33

lingua: Inglese

Use of phytotherapy in relation to conventional medicines: habits and beliefs

Emanuela ONOFRI 1, Marco MERCURI 1, Mathurin C. TADONKENG 2

1 Department of Anatomy, Histology, Legal Medicine and Orthopedics, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2 Department of Educational Sciences, Tor Vergata, University of Rome, Rome, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine the factors that affect drug compliance in the elderly who live in the general community, outside medical establishments. Irregular and inconsistent intake of one or more drugs and herbal medicines in geriatric patients out by a health care environment is common, and this phenomenon may reduce the effectiveness of current pharmacologic treatments.
METHODS: Nine hundred and sixty of the elderly in pharmacological therapy were selected to participate in the study, they were recruited from seven Lazio rural countries, in central Italy. The inclusion criteria for patients was the ages between 70 and 94 years.
RESULTS: Of a total of 960 patient, 67.60% take medications incorrectly. After logistic regression analysis, only gender (Females OR 1.36), age and use of herbal medicine by stopping or decreasing the conventional dosage therapy affects the risk of non-compliance to treatment regimen significantly (OR=1.39; P= P 0.04). There is an increasing appeal of herbal medicines instead of conventional therapy and this occurs without medical supervision.
The main motivation in taking the herbal medicine is to suffer from other illnesses (OR 2.51) without importance not confessed to the doctor.
CONCLUSIONS: Many herbal medications are used to treat diseases but their interaction with drugs compliance and the risks of interactions with drug are not controlled by physicians. These issues require priority solutions.

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