Aim: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been practiced in India for thousands of years. The aim of this study was to determine the extent of use, perception and attitude of doctors and patients utilizing the same healthcare facility.
Methods: This study was conducted among 200 doctors working at a tertiary care teaching Hospital, India and 403 patients attending the same, to determine the extent of usage, attitude and perception toward CAM.
Results: The use of CAM was more among doctors (58%) when compared with the patients (28%). Among doctors, those who had utilized CAM themselves, recommended CAM as a therapy to their patients (52%) and enquired about its use from patients (37%) to a greater extent. CAM was used concomitantly with allopathic medicine by 60% patients. Very few patients (7%) were asked by their doctors about CAM use, and only 19% patients voluntarily informed their doctors about the CAM they were using. Most patients who used CAM felt it to be more effective, safer, less costly and easily available in comparison to allopathic medicines.
Conclusion: CAM is used commonly by both doctors and patients. There is a lack of communication between doctors and patients regarding CAM, which may be improved by sensitization of doctors and inclusion of CAM in the medical curriculum.
Keywords: Attitude; complementary and alternative medicine; doctors and patients; perception.