Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use among a group of patients with type 2 diabetes receiving outpatient care in Singapore


Correspondence: Peijin Esther Monica Fan, Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Level 2, Clinical Research Centre, Block MD11, 10 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597. Email:


This study aims to identify patterns and evaluate factors associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among type 2 diabetes patients in Singapore. A cross-sectional descriptive study using a self-administered questionnaire was performed among type 2 diabetes patients at an outpatient diabetes centre, and participants' medical records were accessed for diabetes complications and conventional medicine for managing diabetes. Among 304 participants, 43.4% used CAM and 61.2% did not inform health-care professionals of their CAM use. Three most common CAM were nutritional supplements, Chinese herbal medicine and massage. Friends (44.2%), partner and family (38%) were top sources of information for CAM, whereas factors significantly associated with CAM use were gender (P = 0.049), total monthly household income (P = 0.048) and frequency of self-monitoring of blood glucose (P = 0.036). Results highlight a need for improved health-care professionals–patients communication and for health-care professionals to be educated on CAM to provide relevant education to patients.