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# Demographic factors associated with dietary supplement prescriptions filled by United States Military Service Members 2005–2013

BioMed Central

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### Abstract

##### Background

Dietary supplements (DSs) can be purchased over-the-counter but may also be prescribed by medical personnel for specific therapeutic reasons. Few studies have examined this latter source of DSs despite the fact that 79% of physicians and 82% of nurses have recommended DSs to their patients. This investigation examined demographic factors associated with temporal trends in oral DS prescriptions filled by all United States (US) service members (SMs) from 2005 to 2013 ( n = 1,427,080 ± 22,139, mean ± standard deviation per year).

##### Methods

The Food and Drug Administration National Drug Code database and the formularies of the US Defense Health Agency’s Pharmacoeconomic Center were queried to identify DSs available to SMs. The number of these DS prescriptions filled by all SMs from 2005 through 2013 was then obtained from the US Department of Defense Pharmacy Data Transaction System. Data were grouped by American Hospital Formulary System (AHFS) pharmacologic-therapeutic classifications and examined over time. Denominators (number of SMs each year) were obtained from the Defense Health Agency.

##### Results

Major findings included 1) generally greater prevalence of prescriptions filled by women and older SMs for most AHFS categories; 2) a temporal decline in total prescriptions filled by Marine Corps personnel accounted for by a decline in the prevalence of zinc preparations filled by younger male Marines; 3) a temporal decline in the prevalence of iron preparations filled by women; 4) a temporal increase in the prevalence of prescriptions for replacement preparations filled by women accounted for largely by more prescriptions for calcium compounds; and 5) a temporal decline in the prevalence of prescriptions filled for cathartics/laxatives in older SMs accounted for largely by a decline in prescriptions for sodium/potassium compounds.

##### Conclusions

These temporal trends may be associated with the greater health care utilization of women and older SMs as well as the perceptions of prescribers and/or patients on appropriate roles of these substances in medicine and public health.

### Most cited references56

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### Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: results of a follow-up national survey.

(1998)
A prior national survey documented the high prevalence and costs of alternative medicine use in the United States in 1990. To document trends in alternative medicine use in the United States between 1990 and 1997. Nationally representative random household telephone surveys using comparable key questions were conducted in 1991 and 1997 measuring utilization in 1990 and 1997, respectively. A total of 1539 adults in 1991 and 2055 in 1997. Prevalence, estimated costs, and disclosure of alternative therapies to physicians. Use of at least 1 of 16 alternative therapies during the previous year increased from 33.8% in 1990 to 42.1% in 1997 (P < or = .001). The therapies increasing the most included herbal medicine, massage, megavitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy. The probability of users visiting an alternative medicine practitioner increased from 36.3% to 46.3% (P = .002). In both surveys alternative therapies were used most frequently for chronic conditions, including back problems, anxiety, depression, and headaches. There was no significant change in disclosure rates between the 2 survey years; 39.8% of alternative therapies were disclosed to physicians in 1990 vs 38.5% in 1997. The percentage of users paying entirely out-of-pocket for services provided by alternative medicine practitioners did not change significantly between 1990 (64.0%) and 1997 (58.3%) (P=.36). Extrapolations to the US population suggest a 47.3% increase in total visits to alternative medicine practitioners, from 427 million in 1990 to 629 million in 1997, thereby exceeding total visits to all US primary care physicians. An estimated 15 million adults in 1997 took prescription medications concurrently with herbal remedies and/or high-dose vitamins (18.4% of all prescription users). Estimated expenditures for alternative medicine professional services increased 45.2% between 1990 and 1997 and were conservatively estimated at $21.2 billion in 1997, with at least$12.2 billion paid out-of-pocket. This exceeds the 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US hospitalizations. Total 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures relating to alternative therapies were conservatively estimated at \$27.0 billion, which is comparable with the projected 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US physician services. Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patient.
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### Hypovitaminosis D prevalence and determinants among African American and white women of reproductive age: third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994.

(2002)
Recent reports of rickets among African American children drew attention to the vitamin D status of these infants and their mothers. African American women are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than are white women, but few studies have examined determinants of hypovitaminosis D in this population. We examined the prevalence and determinants of hypovitaminosis D among African American and white women of reproductive age. We examined 1546 African American women and 1426 white women aged 15-49 y who were not pregnant and who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994). Hypovitaminosis D was defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration < or =37.5 nmol/L. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the independent association of dietary, demographic, and behavioral determinants of hypovitaminosis D. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was 42.4 +/- 3.1% ( +/- SE) among African Americans and 4.2 +/- 0.7% among whites. Among African Americans, hypovitaminosis D was independently associated with consumption of milk or breakfast cereal <3 times/wk, no use of vitamin D supplements, season, urban residence, low body mass index, and no use of oral contraceptives. Even among 243 African Americans who consumed the adequate intake of vitamin D from supplements (200 IU/d), 28.2 +/- 2.7% had hypovitaminosis D. The high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among African American women warrants further examination of vitamin D recommendations for these women. The determinants of hypovitaminosis D among women should be considered when these women are advised on dietary intake and supplement use.
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### Recent Patterns of Medication Use in the Ambulatory Adult Population of the United States

(2002)
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### Author and article information

###### Contributors
443-752-3350 , joseph.j.knapik.ctr@mail.mil
###### Journal
BMC Complement Altern Med
BMC Complement Altern Med
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
BioMed Central (London )
1472-6882
31 January 2017
31 January 2017
2017
: 17
###### Affiliations
[1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9341 8465, GRID grid.420094.b, , US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, ; Natick, MA USA
[2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0646 3602, GRID grid.416894.6, , US Army Public Health Center, ; Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD USA
[3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 1013 9784, GRID grid.410547.3, , Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, ; Belcamp, MD USA
[4 ]Office of The US Army Surgeon’s General Pharmacovigilance Center, Falls Church, VA USA
[5 ]Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, VA USA
[6 ]Research Physiologist, (USARIEM), 10 General Greene Ave, Natick, MA 01760 USA
###### Article
1590
10.1186/s12906-017-1590-x
5286846
28148262

###### Funding
Funded by: Knowledge Preservation Program, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Funded by: Center Alliance for Nutrition and Dietary Supplement Research
Award ID: None
###### Categories
Research Article