Objective: This study uses a nationwide population-based dataset to explore factors and patterns associated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) usage among schizophrenia patients. Design: A retrospective population-based study. Administrative claims data obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database covering the periods 1996-2004 was used to examine patients hospitalized with schizophrenia between 1996 and 2001 (n = 34,100) to determine whether they had visited TCM practitioners in 2004 for treatment of schizophrenia. Setting: Taiwan. Main outcome measures: Independent variables included patient's age, gender, comorbid medical disorders, number of visits to clinics, number of hospitalizations, income and the geographical location and urbanization level of patients' residences. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to determine the association between these factors and visits to TCM practitioners for the treatment of schizophrenia. Results: 3144 of the patients (9.2%) had visited TCM practitioners during 2004. After adjusting for other factors, the odds of such visits by males were found to be 0.825 times those for females, with the odds decreasing with patient's age and urbanization level. The odds of visits to TCM practitioners for patients hospitalized more than once were 3.557 times as high as those for other patients, while those for patients with ≥50 prior visits to other conventional clinics were 54.9 times those with ≤10 prior clinic visits. Conclusions: We conclude that patient's gender, age, geographical location, urbanization level, severity of illness, number of visits to clinic, income and the presence of diabetes and hypertension all have significant associations with TCM usage.
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