2015 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 16-26
Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships of health literacy with coping behavior towards the side effects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and with communication of patients with chronic diseases among physicians in Japan.
Method: In this cross-sectional study, self-administered questionnaires were distributed among 920 patients with chronic diseases registered at patients' associations from May to July 2011. Of 570 valid questionnaires (response rate: 62.0%), 428 individuals had used CAM and were selected as participants. The unpaired student's t-test was used to correlate health literacy with the presence or absence of side effects (side effects group and no side effects group), with coping behavior towards side effects (continuation group and discontinuation group), and with reporting treatment and side effect symptoms to physicians (report group and no report group). Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the relationship between health literacy and discontinuation and report groups.
Results: Of 428, 88 participants (20.6%) experienced CAM side effects. Of them, 45.9% continued to use CAM and 61.6% did not report their side effects to physicians. Health literacy was higher in the discontinuation and report groups than in continuation and no report groups, respectively. Multivariate analysis indicated a relationship of health literacy with the discontinuation group (OR = 2.75, 95% CI: 1.06-7.10) and with the report group (OR = 2.59, 95% CI: 1.01-6.65).
Conclusion: Health literacy is important for the safe use of complementary and alternative medicine because it facilitates appropriate coping behavior towards side effects.