Prevalence and associated factors with homeopathy use in Brazil: a population-based study

Despite the controversy about its efficacy, homeopathy is considered a medical practice alternative to the conventional medical model. Prevalence of homeopathy use varies greatly among countries and the literature has conflicting evidence about the relation between sociodemographic factors and health conditions associated with homeopathy use. We aim to estimate the prevalence of homeopathy use and its association with self-perceived health status, depression, and sociodemographic factors. We used data from 90,846 participants in the 2019 Brazilian National Survey of Health (PNS 2019), a population-based study with complex and probabilistic sampling. Sociodemographic and clinical data and information on homeopathy use during the last 12 months were collected. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was used to assess depression. All variables were categorized. Logistic regression models were built to obtain crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI). The prevalence of homeopathy use was 0.99% (95%CI: 0.98-1.00). In the adjusted analysis, the following variables were associated with higher use of homeopathy: female gender, age above 51 years, white ethnicity, higher socioeconomic and educational attainment, residence in Southern/Southeastern Brazil, poorer self-reported health status, and depression. Brazil shows increased offer of complementary medicine, including homeopathy. Nevertheless, the use of homeopathy treatment is very low and clearly associated with a higher socioeconomic status, poorer self-reported health status, and depression.

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