Prevalence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Used by Stroke Patients in Siriraj Hospital, Thailand


  • Harnphadungkit K Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Poompreecha K Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand


complementary medicine, alternative medicine, poststroke, prevalence, Thai traditional medicine


Objectives: To study the prevalence of complementary and  alternative medicine (CAM) use and related factors among stroke patients in Siriraj Hospital.

Study design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Setting: Inpatient and outpatient of the Departments of Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine, Siriraj Hospital.

Subjects: Stroke patients (at least 3 months after onset), age at least 18 years.

Methods: Data collected by questionnaire-based study on stroke patients or their relatives.

Results: Three hundred and nine stroke patients were  recruited, 59.2% were male. Mean age was 65.2 (SD 12.3) years. The prevalence of CAM use in stroke patients was 40.8%.  The most common CAM used was Thai massage (56.3%) followed by acupuncture (44.4%), traditional Thai herb and medication (36.5%) and traditional Chinese herb and medicine (15.9%). The main reasons for CAM used were muscle strength improvement (58.7%), controlling spasticity (41.3%), improving walking ability (37.3%), and pain reduction (25.4%). Treatments with CAM started from suggestions from families or friends (58.7%) and physicians and healthcare professions (23.8%). The total cost per month of CAM use that was less than 1,000 baht was 40.5%. Complication rate was 16.7%. Ecchymosis or bruise was the most common complication. Regarding satisfaction rate, CAM users rated extremely satisfied, satisfied and neutral 19.0%, 48.4% and 27.0%, respectively.

Conclusion: About 40% of stroke patients used CAM. The  frequent CAM treatments chosen were traditional Thai and  Chinese medicine suggested by their relatives and friends. Though, there were some complications, stroke patients were still satisfied with CAM.


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