Complementary and alternative medicine has been an important part of Pakistani culture for a long time. Whilst it is widely practiced amongst the general population, this study aims to determine attitude and practices of medical students towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and their willingness to learn about them and give advice to their patients about it in future. Cross sectional study was conducted using a self administered questionnaire on the medical students of a public and private sector medical college in Karachi. Students from all years of bachelor of medicine and bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) program were included and were approached using convenience sampling. The data was collected and analyzed using statistical package for social sciences (SPPS) version 21. The study included 246 students and showed they had a positive attitude regarding CAM. Only 18.3% respondents appeared not to be using any of the CAM modalities mentioned in the questionnaire. Participants were more inclined to opt for CAM for common ailments like headache flu rather than medical emergencies in which allopathic medicine was the first choice of treatment. Results showed willingness of 56.4% respondents to advice their patients about CAM in future .Regarding barriers pertaining to usage of CAM, the most important was the belief in the ineffectiveness of CAM (39.5%). Respondents in general believed in the effectiveness of CAM and showed willingness to be trained in various CAM modalities. Considering the widespread popularity of CAM methods amongst medical students, incorporating this in their curriculum could prove really helpful and may aid in better health care for patients in the future.
Key words: Complementary and alternative medicine, medical students.
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