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Table 3 Comparison of COTC users (n = 789) who reported adverse events compared with those who did not report adverse events (AE)

From: Acute adverse events from over-the-counter Chinese herbal medicines: a population-based survey of Hong Kong Chinese

  Reported adverse events (n = 25) No adverse events (n = 764) Unadjusted P–value* All COTC-users (n = 789)
Conditions for past year COTC use % (95% CI) % (95% CI)   % (95% CI)
 Cold/Flu 64.0% (43.8-84.2) 53.7% (50.1-57.2) 0.308 54.0% (50.5-57.5)
 GI/Digestive problems 44.0% (23.1-64.9) 44.0% (40.8-47.9) 0.971 44.0% (40.3-47.2)
 Musculoskeletal pains 76.0% (58.0-94.0) 42.7% (39.2-46.2) 0.001 43.9% (40.3-47.2)
 “Qi” (氣) imbalancesa 32.0% (12.3-51.7) 23.4% (20.4-26.4) 0.321 23.7% (20.7-26.7)
 General health enhancement 20.0% (3.1-36.9) 13.5% (11.1-15.9) 0.351 13.7% (11.3-16.1)
 Sleep problems 20.0% (3.1-36.9) 4.8% (3.3-6.4) 0.001 5.3% (3.8-6.9)
 Skin and hair problems 8.0% (0.0-19.4) 4.1% (2.7-5.5) 0.333 4.3% (2.8-5.6)
Treating open wounds 8.0% (0.0-19.4) 3.8% (2.4-5.2) 0.287 4.1% (2.6-5.3)
 Chronic respiratory problems 0.0% (0.0-0.0) 3.5% (2.2-4.8) 0.339 3.5% (2.2-4.7)
 Slimming/Weight loss 8.0% (0.0-19.4) 0.9% (0.2-1.6) 0.001 1.1% (0.4-1.9)
 Blood Pressure/heart conditions 4.0% (0.0-12.3) 0.4% (0.0-0.8) 0.012 0.5% (0.0-1.0)
 Improving mental functioning/memory 8.0% (0.0-19.4) 0.0% (0.0-0.0) <0.001 0.3% (0.0-0.6)
 Sexual health/reproductive conditions 0.0% (0.0-0.0) 0.4% (0.0-0.8) 0.754 0.4% (0.0-0.8)
 Vision problems 0.0% (0.0-0.0) 0.3% (0.0-0.6) 0.798 0.3% (0.0-0.6)
 All other conditionsb 4.0% (0.0-12.3) 1.7% (0.8-2.6) 0.392 1.8% (0.9-2.7)
Usual source(s) of COTC information     
 TV 24.0% (6.0-42.0) 7.6% (5.7-9.5) 0.003 8.1%
 Retailers 40.0% (19.4-60.6) 22.2% (19.0-24.0) 0.037 22.8%
 Internet 4.0% (0.0-12.3) 5.7% (4.0-7.3) 0.724 5.6%
 Newspapers 16.0% (0.6-31.4) 7.4% (5.5-9.2) 0.109 7.6%
 Health professionals 8.0% (0.0-19.4) 11.6% (9.4-13.9) 0.570 11.6%
 Friends and Family 52.0% (31.0-73.0) 42.9% (39.4-46.4) 0.377 43.4%
 Magazines 20.0% (3.1-36.9) 4.9% (3.3-6.4) 0.001 5.3%
 Drug labels/inserts 66.7% (39.4-90.0) 56.4% (51.2-58.8) 0.387 56.7%
 Other sources (Books) 16.0% (6.0-31.4) 7.1% (5.2-8.9) 0.092 7.6%
  Mean (SD) Mean (SD)   Mean (SD)
Practice score [out of-28] 12.2 (5.8) 9.12 (5.0) 0.002 9.22 (5.00)
COTC Knowledge scores [max = 6) 3.64 1.60) 3.52 (1.45) 0.712 3.52 (1.45)
Perceived benefits score [max = 12] 6.76 (3.40) 6.67 (3.01) 0.851 6.67 (2.99)
Perceived COTC AE severity [max = 4] 3.32 (1.14) 3.61 (0.87) 0.219 3.60 (0.88)
Perceived AE susceptibility [max = 6] 2.00 (1.99) 2.01 (1.71) 0.902 2.01 (1.72)
Perceived COTC info barriers [max = 12] 7.36 (2.31) 7.24 (2.20) 0.801 7.23 2.21)
  1. 2 or t-test p-value.
  2. aQi (氣) imbalances refer to TCM concept of bodily vital energy disharmonies [38].
  3. bOther conditions include: Headache, ear ache and multi-symptom conditions.