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2009 Grants - Chang
Medication Use for Dementia in Chinese American Families
Yu-Ping Chang, Ph.D.
The Research Foundation of State University of New York on behalf of University at Buffalo (SUNY at Buffalo)
Buffalo, New York
2009 New Investigator Research Grant
Researchers have found that ninety-three percent of Chinese immigrants self-medicate with traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) and other home remedies to relieve health problems such as pain, cough, headache, weakness and/or depression. They also found that more than fifty percent of older Chinese Americans use a combination of TCHM and prescribed medications. When self-medication is not effective, Chinese Americans may also combine some over-the-counter medications and prescribed medications without communicating with their health care providers. Drug-herb interactions, possible side effects and toxicity pose potential health risks.
Although researchers have begun to identify how cultural beliefs and values regarding dementia influence health-seeking behaviors in Chinese immigrants, the relationship between cultural beliefs and medication use has not been established. Due to the wide use of TCHM and the possible risks of combined medication regimens, more investigation specific to the use of TCHM products for dementia-related symptoms in Chinese immigrants is needed.
Yu-Ping Chang, Ph.D. and colleagues will examine the multiple medication regimens associated with dementia and examine culture-specific variables influencing medication use among Chinese immigrants. The researchers will study one hundred and fifty Chinese immigrants who are caring for family members with dementia in the San Francisco Bay Area. This research will hopefully lead to the reduction of risks associated with complex medication regimens as well as the development of culturally appropriate educational interventions that will increase clinicians' awareness of their patients' cultural perspectives with regards to mixed medication use.