To understand the treatment-seeking behavior of people with epilepsy (PWE), 403 PWE were surveyed using structured face-to-face interviews. Nearly half (49.1%) of them had previously tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); traditional Chinese medicine (51.5%) and temple worship (48.0%) were the most frequently used forms of CAM. In the 155 patients with adult-onset epilepsy, seeking CAM was substantially more common among females (OR. = 2.11, 95% CI. = 1.05-4.24, P= 0.036), patients with frequent seizures (OR. = 2.68, 95% CI. = 1.30-5.53, P= 0.008), patients with less educated parents (OR. = 2.16, 95% CI. = 1.06-4.41, P= 0.034), and patients with religious beliefs (OR. = 2.84, 95% CI. = 1.23-6.56, P= 0.015). In the 248 patients with childhood-onset epilepsy, frequent seizures (OR. = 2.23, 95% CI. = 1.32-3.77, P= 0.003) and lower level of parental education (OR. = 2.71, 95% CI. = 1.45-5.06, P= 0.002) were significantly associated with CAM use. The patients who seek CAM before receiving conventional medical treatment decreased after implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) (34/188 before NHI vs 22/215 after NHI, P= 0.023). This study showed that the prevalence of CAM use by PWE in Taiwan is high and that a convenient NHI program can affect treatment-seeking behavior.
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