Patterns of use of natural health products by Ontario seniors

K. Gaebel, M. Bédard, K. Brazil, N. Brazier, M. Levine, L. Lohfield, S. MacLeod

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2001

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Copyright 2006 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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