Background and objective: To evaluate the prevalence and patterns of use of herbal remedies among HIV-infected patients, and to identify potential health risks and correlates associated with the use of these products. Patients and methods: Cross-sectional survey including 1000 HIV-infected outpatients in Barcelona. Participants completed a questionnaire on the use of herbal remedies and other types of complementary treatments within the previous year as well as on sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Herbal users' questionnaires were scrutinized for potential adverse effects and drug interactions with antiretroviral treatment. Correlates of use of herbal remedies were evaluated through logistic regression analyses. Results: One third of patients (n = 355) had used herbal remedies, but doctors were informed about such a use by only 69 (19.4%) herbal users. Potential health problems were identified in 193 (54.4%) cases. Herbal remedy use was related to a history of ever discussing complementary and alternative medicine use with the physician (OR: 3.12; 95% CI: 2.30-4.23), having a secondary-school or higher education (OR: 2.63; 95% CI: 1.78-3.88), and perception of complementary therapies as effective (OR: 2.28; 95% CI: 1.18-4.41). Other factors were non-Caucasian ethnicity (OR: 1.65; 95% CI: 1.07-2.56) and the presence of non-HIV-related symptoms (OR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.24-2.28). Conclusions: Herbal remedy use is common among HIV-infected patients. HIV caregivers and patients should be sensitized to potential risks and the use of these remedies should be routinely monitored in clinical practice. © 2011 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.
- Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
- Herbal remedies