A random dialing telephone survey of 1,071 60+ year-olds in 4 Ontario communities identified 553 (52%) users of natural health products. Mean age was 72 yrs (min-max:60-95); 76% were female. The most frequently reported natural health products were: echinacea (27%), glucosamine (26%), garlic (20%), ginkgo biloba (10%), St. John's wort (5%), ginseng (5%), flax seed oil (3%), evening primrose oil (2%), devil's claw (2%), saw palmetto (2%). Natural source vitamin use was reported by 24% of users, and 6% reporting using herbal teas. 51% of users used 2 or more herbal products and 8% used 5 or more products. 19% of herbal users also used a conventional prescription drug to manage the same health problem as the herbal product. The reported range of monthly expenditures for these products varied from a few cents (grew their own) to $288 (CAN). Thirty-five percent of users did not know the price of at least one of their natural products. Of the 75% of respondents willing to disclose their annual household income ($CAN), 20 had an income of $46,000. The widespread use and potential for significant expenditure of limited resources would suggest that more study is required into the efficacy, safety and value of these products.
|Journal||Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jan 2001|