Attitudes and Beliefs of Consumers of Herbal Medicines in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Amal K Suleiman*
Clinical Pharmacy Department, Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Amal K. Suleiman
Assistant Professor, Clinical Pharmacy Department
Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University, P.O. Box 84428
Riyadh 11671, Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 565 315 541
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: January 07, 2014; Accepted date: January 22, 2014; Published date: January 24, 2014
Citation: Suleiman AK (2014) Attitudes and Beliefs of Consumers of Herbal Medicines in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. J Community Med Health Educ 4: 269. doi: 10.4172/2161-0711.1000269
Copyright: © 2014 Suleiman AK. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Herbal medicines are commonly used in Saudi Arabia alongside conventional drug therapy. However, special attention must be paid when using such medicines and supplements with other drugs. Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the consumer awareness surrounding herbal remedies and the safety of herbal dietary supplements, as well as the sources of recommendation for their use and common beliefs regarding the combining herbals and drugs during therapy. Materials and methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to capture data from 420 participants that purchased herbal medicines and/or herbal dietary supplements based on convenience sampling method from seven private pharmacies in Riyadh during 2013. The questionnaire included four parts: the socio-demographic characteristics of the consumer, the source of recommendation for the use of the purchased herbal products, the consumer’s attitude towards the safety of herbal remedies and herbal dietary supplements and their combination with conventional drugs, and assessment of the purchased herbal products. The data from each of the returned questionnaire were coded and entered into (SPSS) version 15.0 software which was used for statistical analysis. Response rate was 70%. The majority of participants were highly educated. Result: The study results show that 91.1% of the participants did not consult or take advice from a pharmacist or physician prior to purchasing herbal remedies for concurrent use alongside conventional medication. The study shows 8.8% used herbal medicines or herbal dietary supplements following advice from a physician or pharmacist, 66.2% of them on their friends or relatives, while 24.9% was based on the independent internet research, advertisements, etc. According to the study results, 81.2% believed that herbal medicines and herbal dietary supplements are harmless; however, 49.5% of participants acknowledged that combining herbal remedies and conventional drugs may be unsafe. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that public awareness regarding the use of herbal medicines and supplements, especially alongside other medication, is lacking. It is the responsibility of pharmacists and physicians to provide patients with comprehensive advice regarding the use of herbal medicines and herbal dietary supplements to ensure their safe use.