Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with purchasing Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) without a physician's prescription among adults. Methods: Using data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey and National Health Insurance, we identified 16,756 individuals aged 20 years and older. Socio-demographic factors, lifestyle, medical services utilization and health behaviors were compared between people with and without a history of purchasing CHM by calculating adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) in a multiple logistic regression analysis. Results: The one-month prevalence of purchasing CHM without a physician' prescription was 5.2% in Taiwan. People more likely to purchase CHM included people aged ≥70 years (OR 2.84, 95% CI 2.03-3.99), women (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.11-1.48), non-indigenous people (OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.29-5.30), and people with an illness not receiving medical care (OR 2.69, 95% CI 2.19-3.31). Conclusion: The prevalence of purchasing CHM without a physician's prescription is high in Taiwan and is correlated with factors such as socio-demographics, disease history, and behaviors surrounding the utilization of medical care.
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