A random dialing telephone survey in 4 Ontario communities obtained data on the use of natural health products (NHP) from 1,071 persons 60 years and older. 553 (52%) respondents were users of NHP. Prevalence of use was similar for females (53%) and males (48%). In this population modal users were of European descent, high school graduates and employed at least part-time. Half the users received recommendations about NHP from friends or relatives; another 22% learned about NHP through self-experimentation. Most users (81 %) decided by themselves whether they would buy an NHP rather than rely on input from another source (herbalist, physician, store owner/employee). 38% of NHP users had not informed their physician that they were using an NHP. When users had discussed NHP with their physician, less than 5% of physicians responded negatively. Some users felt natural health products were safer (15%) and less expensive (4%) than prescription drugs. 30% used NHP as a last resort for the treatment of a chronic disease. Nearly half (49%) of the users believed that if the government pays for prescription drugs, it should also pay for herbal remedies; 36% said the consumer should pay. In light of the extensive use of NHP by seniors, there is a need for clinical pharmacology studies of these products.
|Journal||Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jan 2001|