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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 527238, 6 pages
Research Article

Complementary and Alternative Drugs Use among Preoperative Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study in Italy

1Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology “M. Aiazzi Mancini”, University of Florence, Viale G. Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy
2Interuniversitary Centre of Molecular Medicine and Applied Biophysics (CIMMBA), University of Florence, Florence, Italy
3Department of Labour Medicine “L. Devoto”, Section of Medical Statistics and Biometry “G. A. Maccacaro”, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
4Tuscan Regional Centre of Pharmacovigilance, Florence, Italy
5Anaesthesiology Unit ASL 11 Hospital, Empoli, Italy
6Anaesthesiology Unit ASL 10 Hospital, Florence, Italy
7Anaesthesiology Unit ASL 4 Hospital, Prato, Italy
8Centre of Natural Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, ASL11, Empoli, Italy
9Epidemiology Unit, Regional Authority for Healthcare Services of Tuscany, Florence, Italy

Received 22 November 2010; Revised 24 January 2011; Accepted 23 May 2011

Academic Editor: Gerhard Litscher

Copyright © 2012 Ersilia Lucenteforte et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Complementary and alternative drugs (CADs) are widely used in preoperative patients and may lead to potential interactions and adverse reactions. The aim of our study is to evaluate the prevalence and the predictors of CADs use among preoperative patients using data from an Italian survey. This cross-sectional study, which enrolled 478 patients (response rate: 83.5%), was carried out in three Tuscany hospitals (Italy). The prevalence of CADs use was 49.8%: 233 out of 238 participants used herbal products and/or dietary supplements. Valeriana officinalis was the most reported product (19.4%). According to univariate analysis, users were commonly identified among middle-aged or older patients; unadjusted ORs were 2.1 (95% CI: 1.3–3.3) for patients aged 48–69 years, and 3.0 (95% CI: 1.9–4.7) for those of 70–95 years, when compared with individuals aged 18–47 years. Except for education and gender, adjusted estimates showed consistent results with univariate analyses: direct association was observed with higher education, and—although not significantly—with female gender. The high prevalence of CAD use in preoperative period could be suggestive of a certain risk of adverse effects due to CADs interactions. A careful medical history of CADs consumption should be ascertained before surgery.