Sara Ijaz Gilani, Sana Ali, Sarah Tahir Mir, Tooba Mazhar, Aftab Iqbal, Faheem Ahmed, Omar Hyder, Abeera Zareen.
Use of alternative medicine for chronic hepatitis C - a hospital based study from Rawalpindi.
Rawal Med J Jan ;34(1):102-4.

Objective To assess the prevalence of alternative treatment in Chronic Hepatitis C patients. Method Face to face interviews were conducted with 78 patients presenting in Liver Clinic of Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi using a structured questionnaire. Results Out of 78 patients, 58% were female and 42% were male. Mean age was 43 years. Fifty one percent were illiterate with average monthly household income of Rs. 3000-7000. Seventy-seven percent (n=60) of the patients claimed using alternative medicine for hepatitis at some stage during illness. Use of Quranic verses (Dam/Darood) was the most prevalent (75%, n=50), followed by Hakim (45%, n=27) and Homeopathic (43%, n=26) medicines. The major reasons cited for using alternative medicine were high cost of conventional medicine (67%), followed by recommendations from other patients. Fifty percent people believed in the effectiveness of alternative medicine and 25% doubted the efficacy of conventional treatment. Sixty-five percent claimed using a combination of alternative and conventional therapy and 67% had not informed their doctor about its concurrent use. Conclusions Doctors need to be aware of all therapeutic modalities used by their patients to prevent any drug interactions. The cost of medical treatment for hepatitis was found to be the greatest obstacle in obtaining conventional treatment. The treatment seeking behavior is influenced by hearsay, advice from other patients and the community. (Rawal Med J 2009; 34: 102-104).

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