Prevalence and factors contributing to concurrent use of herbal and conventional antidiabetic medicines in patients attending diabetic clinic in Naguru Hospital, Uganda.
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Background: Diabetes mellitus is a progressive chronic disease marked by an elevated blood sugar level. Its management involves the use of conventional medicines/allopathic and traditional/ herbal medicines. The use of conventional medicine is a safety concern due to the potential for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics interactions, unsupervised self-administration and lack of knowledge about the phytochemical and pharmacological properties of the medicinal products. Objectives: To determine the proportion of diabetic patients concurrently using herbal medicines and conventional medicines, determine the factors contributing to the concurrent use of herbal and conventional medicines, and to assess the relationship between herbal medicine use and blood glucose control among diabetic patients. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 80 participants. Participants were recruited upon consenting to the study and data collection was done using structured questionnaire for a period of one month. The primary outcome for the study is the concurrent use of herbal medicines and conventional medicines. Quantitative data was coded and double entered in an excel sheet, analysis was done using statistical package for social scientist version 13. An ethical approval was obtained from IRB school of health sciences Makerere university and participation was voluntary after an informed consent. Results. During this study, a total of 80 diabetic participated in the study giving a response rate of 100%. The mean age of the respondents was 46.1, the youngest was 18 years and the oldest was 73 years. Majority of the respondents were females (67.5%), from Western Uganda (82.5%) and were protestants (28.75%). In this study, the prevalence of herbal medicine use was 30.0%. Among the people taking both herbal medicines and conventional medicine, the average blood sugar was 6.07mmol with only 25% who were controlling blood sugar to the normal range (below 7mmol). Respondents taking only conventional regimen had the average blood sugar of 5.82mmol and only 14.3% were controlling their blood sugars below 7mmol. Conclusion. The use of herbal therapies in diabetes was highly prevalent in Uganda (30.0%). Glycemic control was better in patients taking both conventional and herbal medicines than those taking only conventional antidiabetic medicines. Use of herbal medicines should be explored with patients before clinical decisions are made and There is a need for health education relating to herbal use in conjunction with conventional medicines in diabetes.