To investigate the use of alternative drugs for the climacteric in Finland, which products are used, and who are the women using them.
The study was based on a population-based survey conducted in 1989 among 2000 Finnish women aged 45-64 (response rate 86%).
11% of the women reported the use of alternative drugs for the climacteric. Food supplements and bee products were the most common types of alternative drugs used. Some of them may have allergic or other side effects. Users differ little from other women judging by health habits and the utilization of health care services. The best predictors for alternative drug use were urban residence, more than 9 years of general education, and among 50 54-year olds, the use of prescription or OTC drugs for menopause. Over half of the users of alternative drugs had also used hormone therapy.
Women using alternative drugs during and after the climacteric represent a large group. More information is needed about the clinical effects of alternative drugs, and the characteristics of alternative drug users.