Complementary medicine use among Australian patients in an acute hospital setting

An exploratory, cross sectional study

Freya Waddington, Jenny Lee, Mark Naunton, Greg Kyle, Jackson Thomas, Gabrielle O'Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The use of Complementary Medicines (CMs) has significantly increased in Australia over the last decade. This study attempts to determine the extent to which complementary and alternative medicines are recorded, ceased or initiated in the acute hospital setting and investigate which health professionals have a role in this process. Methods: A cross-sectional study of inpatients was conducted at a major tertiary teaching hospital. Patient's medical records were examined to determine the rates of complementary medicine (CM) use and recording on medication charts and discharge prescriptions. Patient progress notes were audited to determine which health professionals were involved with the initiation or cessation of CMs during the inpatient stay. Results: Three hundred and forty-one patients were included for analysis of which 44.3% (n = 151) participants were recorded as utilizing a CM. Patients were admitted on a mean of 2 (±1.4[Sd]; 0-9[range]) CMs and discharged on a mean of 1.7 CMs (±1.3[Sd]; 0-5[range]). 274 individual CMs were recorded on inpatient medication reconciliation forms with multivitamins, magnesium, fish oil and cholecalciferol recorded the most frequently. One hundred and fifty-eight changes to patient CM usage were recorded during the patient hospitalisation. One hundred and seven of these changes (68%) were not accounted for in the patient progress notes. Conclusion: Patients use of CM in this hospital setting do not reflect the national estimated usage. On the occasions that CM products are included in patient records, they are subsequently deprescribed following patient examination in hospital. It is currently unclear which health professionals have a role in this deprescribing process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number374
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2019


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