Prevalence, expenditures, and associated factors of purchasing non-prescribed Chinese herbal medicine in Taiwan

Feng Ping Hu, Chien Chan Liao, Ta Liang Chen, Chun Chieh Yeh, Luwen Shi, Chun Chuan Shih

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Background and aims Purchasing Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) without a physician's prescription may have adverse effects on health. However, the recent status of purchasing non-prescribed CHM and the associated factors are not completely understood. We aimed to report the prevalence of purchasing CHM and associated factors. Methods Using data from the 2017 Taiwan Survey of Family Income and Expenditure, we identified 16,528 individuals (householders) aged 18 years and older. Sociodemographic factors, expenditures on medical services and health behaviours were compared between people with and without a history of purchasing non-prescribed CHM by calculating adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) in a multiple logistic regression analysis. Results The one-year prevalence of purchasing non-prescribed CHM was 74.8% in Taiwan. In addition to sociodemographics, marital status (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.88-2.44), the use of traditional Chinese medicine (OR 3.62, 95% CI 3.30-3.97), the purchasing of non-prescribed biochemical medications (OR 3.09, 95% CI 2.75-3.48), the purchasing of health foods (OR 2.59, 95% CI 2.33-2.86), the use of folk therapy (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.95-2.64), and a high level of expenditure on alcohol (OR 3.79, 95% CI 3.29-4.36) were strongly correlated with purchasing non-prescribed CHM. Conclusion The one-year prevalence of purchasing non-prescribed CHM is very high in Taiwan and is correlated with sociodemographics, health behaviours, and the utilization of medical care. The interaction of non-prescribed CHM with physician-prescribed herbal medicine and biomedical medications requires more attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0240311
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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