gms | German Medical Science

30. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie (GAA)

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

09.11. - 10.11.2023, Köln

Development of a qualitative online survey on need, request, acceptance, benefits, and accessibility of herbal medicines for the treatment of gynaecological complaints

Entwicklung eines qualitativen Online-Fragebogens zu Bedarf, Nachfrage, Akzeptanz, Nutzen und Verfügbarkeit pflanzlicher Arzneimittel zur Behandlung gynäkologischer Beschwerden

Meeting Abstract

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 30. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Köln, 09.-10.11.2023. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2023. Doc23gaa18

doi: 10.3205/23gaa18, urn:nbn:de:0183-23gaa183

Published: November 7, 2023

© 2023 Ochs et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background: Herbal medicines have a long tradition and their use for a variety of complaints is getting more and more popular nowadays. Although evidence is growing from clinical studies, that herbal medicines exert clinical benefits, existing treatment guidelines mainly recommending synthetic drugs. The methods of healthcare research including qualitative research could help to close existing evidence gaps by providing real world evidence from patients and healthcare professionals regarding therapeutic benefits, request, acceptance, and accessibility of herbal medicines in medical routine.

Gynaecological complaints including uncomplicated cystitis, menstrual and menopausal complaints are very suitable for the application of herbal medicines as the conditions are in most cases non-life threatening. In addition, they are matter of approximately half of the world’s population. Regarding cystitis, the therapeutic use of antibiotics could be minimized by applying herbal medicines pro-actively and as long as the safety of hormone therapies are not finally assessed phytotherapy is a good alternative for menopausal complaints. Not to mention that there is an increasing scepticism among affected women towards intake hormones for menstrual and menopausal complaints. To analyse determinants of supply gaps patients with complaints from menopause, menstruation and recurring cystitis and Health Care Professionals will be asked about their assessment and experience with the therapeutic use of herbal medicines for gynaecological complaints. Relevant determinants will be request, need, acceptance, benefit, and availability of herbal medicines.

Materials and methods: We have developed a predominantly explorative online survey consisting of two complementary questionnaires: one for patients that have used herbal medicines to treat their gynaecological complaint, and one for Health Care Professionals who are experienced with gynaecological complaints. Our goal is to examine prescription habits and to assess the therapeutic value of herbal medicines to alleviate gynaecological complaints. The questionnaires are built on evidence-based research and our own previous quantitative analyses of an existing dataset with patient reported outcomes regarding the therapeutic application of herbal medicines (PhytoVis – Kooperation Phytopharmaka). In this context, poster presentations were hold at several conferences (Phytotherapiekongress Bamberg 2023, EuroDurg Bologna 2023, GA Dublin 2023). Mainly closed questions of quantitative-confirmatory character were combined with open questions for qualitative information collection with explorative orientation. Questions answered by patients will be about demographics, lifestyle, general wellbeing, medication and therapy, perceived efficacy, information, perceived tabu, and knowledge about herbal medicines. Questions answered by Health Care Professionals will be about demographics, professional field, experience, level of information about herbal medicines, diagnose, therapy, and assessment of herbal medicines. The online questionnaires will be spread via social media using a snowball system addressing adult women with experiences in herbal medicines and Health Care Professionals. A pretest will be performed before the main survey will be started. For all closed questions data preparation and adjustment of the numeric variables will be conducted via IBM SPSS 28. For answers to open questions data will be numerically coded before they are analysed via IBM SPSS 28.

Results: We have developed the two questionnaires to get answers to the following main questions.

Patient’s questionnaire

How big are request, need, and acceptance of herbal medicines among patients?
How big are need and acceptance of herbal medicines looking at the different indications?
How are perceived efficacy and benefit of herbal medicines shaped?
Is a sufficient accessibility of herbal medicines ensured?

Health care professionals’ questionnaire

How are current therapies designed?
How experienced and informed are they about herbal treatments?
How are need and acceptance of herbal medicines shaped looking at the different indications?
What is the overall assessment of herbal medicines regarding of efficacy and benefit?

The questionnaires will be presented in detail at the conference.

Conclusion: The real world evidence from our qualitative online survey will contribute to characterising, analysing, and finally closing supply gaps to enhance integration of herbal medicines into standard therapies.