Complementary and alternative medicine use and type of use may be influenced by sociodemographic and economic determinants through which we could identify characteristics of patients with greater trend to use it. This paper aims to describe the changes in the consumption of homeopathic and natural remedies in Spain for three time points in order to discern changes in rate of consumption, associated factors and whether their use has been affected by a period of economic recession.
This study utilized 2006, 2011 and 2017 cross-sectional data from the Spanish National Health Survey, a nationally representative survey of the population aged more than 15 years old and resident in Spain. Independent bivariate and multivariate descriptive analyses for each of the 3 years studied were performed.
The rate of consumption of both homeopathic and natural remedies has decreased over the periods studied. In spite of this decrease, the consumer profile appears to remain stable over the three periods. The sociodemographic factors associated with their consumption were being female, being 30–64 years old, being separated/divorced, having higher education qualifications, being employed and belonging to a higher social class. Psychiatric morbidity, chronic health problems such as pain, mental health problems or malignant tumors, and absence of major cardiovascular events were the clinical factors associated.
It can be concluded that beyond the economic situation, the use of homeopathic and natural remedies obeys to the needs of the patients related to their state of health and the response they receive from the health system. It may be that women have different needs and expectations of the healthcare system and, given this breach of expectations, seek remedy to alleviate their needs outside the system and conventional medicine.