204041 Use of Home Remedies and Alternative Therapies for Arthritis Among Latinos

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Richard S. Lockwood, PhD, MPH , School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Nathalie Huguet, PhD , School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Chad P. Cheriel, PhD , Institute on Aging, School of COMMUNITY Health, PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY, Portland, OR

National population surveys indicate that Americans seek, use, and are satisfied with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Efforts have been made to improve utilization estimates for ethnic populations, which were initially underestimated. Consumption patterns vary by ethnicity (Mackenzie et al., 2003). Adults with chronic diseases are more likely to use biologically based CAM and those with arthritis are the most common users. Studies have shown multiple self treatment strategies by Hispanics. Previous estimates are suspect because of the difficulty in generating a culturally representative sample.


A multiyear, multiphase CBPR project generated a convenience sample from four rural counties. Surveys were administered in Spanish by trained community volunteers. The CDC's arthritis eligibility questions screened participants inclusion (n=588). As part of a large survey, questions were included on home remedies, over the counter (OTC) drugs, CAM therapies and visits to CAM professionals.


Latinos with arthritis have low rates of insurance coverage (32.8%) and 55% report working full time. Those in poorer health show a significant increase in the use of alternative therapies, OTC drugs, topical ointments and pharmaceuticals. However, contrasts by insurance status indicate that use of self treatments is increased among those with more health problems, while this is not apparent among the insured. Regarding utilization of prescription medications and home remedies, the insured moved toward prescription medication use and away from home remedies. However, in both the insured and uninsured groups, if respondents did not use prescriptions medications then their utilization patterns for home remedies were similar.


Latinos employed several self treatment strategies. When insurance is available, pharmaceuticals become the only treatment. Results are discussed regarding CAM as a problem solving strategy and the possible suppression of culturally valued practices by insurance coverage.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe utilization patterns of home remedies and alternative therapies by insurance status 2. Differentiate alternative therapy users from nonusers by demographic profile

Keywords: Latino Health, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted primary analysis and interpretation of these data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.