A Cross-Sectional Study of Provider and Patient Characteristics Associated with Outpatient Disclosures of Dietary Supplement Use

Published in: Patient Education and Counseling, v. 98, no. 7, July 2015, p. 830-836

Posted on RAND.org on June 02, 2015

by Derjung M. Tarn, Arun Karlamangla, Ian D. Coulter, Debora A. Paterniti, Lyndee Knox, Peter S. Khang, Ka-Kit Hui, Neil S. Wenger

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OBJECTIVE: Explore patterns in patients' disclosures of supplement use and identify provider and patient characteristics associated with disclosures. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 61 outpatient primary care, integrative medicine, and complementary medicine providers, and 603 of their patients. Primary outcomes were supplement disclosures (based on audio recorded office visits, post-visit patient surveys and medical record abstractions for the day of the visits). RESULTS: Seventy-nine percent of 603 patients reported on a post-visit survey that they took a total of 2107 dietary supplements. Of those taking supplements, 232 patients (48.6%) discussed at least one supplement with their provider on the day of their office visit. However, patients disclosed only 714 (33.9%) of the 2107 supplements they were taking. Patients more frequently disclosed supplement use when they saw providers who attributed greater importance to asking about supplements. Patient characteristics such as patient activation, number of medical conditions, and use of prescription medications were not associated with disclosure of supplement use. CONCLUSIONS: Provider rating of the importance of asking about supplements is a major factor prompting patients' disclosures of supplement use. Practice implications: Provider-targeted interventions to encourage provider awareness about potential supplement–drug interactions are needed to increase disclosures about dietary supplement use.

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