Herbal medicine use among patients with viral and non-viral Hepatitis in Uganda: prevalence, patterns and related factors
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There is some evidence that patients with liver diseases commonly use complementary and alternative therapies to address general and liver-disease specific health concerns. The purpose of this study was to assess and describe prevalence, patterns and related factors of herbal medicine use among adults diagnosed with viral and non-viral hepatitis in Kampala, Uganda. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 310 adult patients attending the gastrointestinal clinic in Mulago hospital referral hospital in Kampala. Data on prevalence, types and reasons for herbal medicine use was collected using standardized questionnaires and focus group discussions. Modified Poisson regression analyses were used to examine factors related to use. Results: Usage of various herbal remedies within 12 months prior to April 2018 was reported by 46.1% (143/310) of patients with 27.3% (39/143) of these reporting having used conventional and herbal therapies concurrently. Herbal remedies were used to treat various health conditions including hepatitis. Patients with hepatitis C virus infection (PRR = 1.16, p = 0.02) compared to those with hepatitis B virus infection, and those who believed that it was safe to use herbal and conventional therapies concurrently (PRR = 1.23, p = 0.008) had higher prevalence odds of herbal medicine use. Conversely, patients who had been newly diagnosed with hepatitis (PRR = 0.69, p = 0.03) compared to those who had been diagnosed more than one-year prior, had lower prevalence odds of herbal medicine use. Various types of local herbs were reported as most commonly used however most patients did not know the ingredients of commercially prepared herbal therapies. Conclusion: A high prevalence of herbal medicine use was found among newly-diagnosed patients and patients with hepatitis C more likely to use herbal remedies after adjusting for other factors. Usage was influenced by the belief that herbal medicine is safe and effective. Health workers need to consistently elicit information about herbal remedy use. Research is needed on benefits, adverse effects and outcomes in patients who use herbal remedies to treat primary liver diseases in order to facilitate evidence of efficacy and product safety.
- Medical and Health Sciences