International Journal of Health Services, DOI: 10.1177/0020731417747422

Many studies have investigated the factors that influence the consumption of medicines. This article aims to compare how these factors affect both conventional medicines (prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines) and nonconventional ones, also named as complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). A questionnaire was administered to a purposive sample of 4,074 inhabitants of the province of Mantua, Italy. Logical regressions were used to identify the variables influencing frequency of use. The consumption frequency of various types of medicines was associated not only with demographic aspects (such as gender, age, and education level) but also with everyday treatment strategies (such as self-medication habits and use of the Internet for medical aims) and health beliefs. From this last point of view, the use of conventional and nonconventional medicines is guided by 2 principal therapeutic attitudes, one aimed at removing all pathological aspects from everyday life and the other at contextualizing health problems within a broader philosophical search.

Keywords:  conventional medicines, complementary and alternative medicines, health beliefs, drug