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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (4): 338-347.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.03.004

• Original Chinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

To “tell or not to tell”—Exploring disclosure about medicine use by people living with sleep disorders

Vibha Malhotraa, Joanna Harnetta,b, Erica McIntyreb,c, Amie Steelb, Keith Wongd,e,f, Bandana Sainia,d   

  1. a. School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
    b. The Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, School of Public Health, the University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales 2007, Australia
    c. Institute for Sustainable Futures, the University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales 2007, Australia
    d. The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2037, Australia
    e. Sydney Medical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
    f. Department of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales 2050, Australia
  • Online:2022-07-14 Published:2022-04-12
  • Contact: Joanna Harnett

Objective: To explore the difference in rates and reasons for disclosure of either conventional or complementary medicine (CM) to healthcare practitioners between people living with sleep disorders (SDs) and those without SDs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey (N = 2019 adults) that measured sociodemographic characteristics, health status, health service utilisation, health literacy and health communication (medicine disclosure) of a representative sample of Australians was conducted. Data from participants reporting an SD (n = 265) were compared to those not reporting an SD to assess measures of health communication and disclosure about medicine use.
Results: Overall, rates of medicine disclosure to both conventional and CM practitioners were high, in respondents with (70%) and without an SD (57%). Those reporting an SD had higher expectations of their conventional health practitioner’s knowledge of CM, associated clinical decision-making skills, and approval of CM use, and held a higher degree of concern about drug interactions (P < 0.05). The main reasons cited for disclosing CM use to conventional health practitioners and conventional medicine use to CM practitioners were “I want them to fully understand my health status” and “I was concerned about drug interactions with the CMs used.”
Conclusion: The high rate of medicine use disclosure by people with SDs is driven by an intention to inform their healthcare practitioner about their health status and concerns about potential medicine interactions. Therefore, research about the expectations that people with an SD have of their conventional healthcare practitioners’ knowledge of CM and CM-drug interactions requires further examination. Likewise, further examination of CM practitioner’s conventional medicine knowledge is encouraged.

Key words: Medicine disclosure, Complementary medicine, Drug interactions, Sleep disorder, Patient safety, Cross-sectional survey

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