Although diabetic patients in Romania get an efficient treatment for free, media and public opinion favors the use of supplementary products. Purpose: To study the frequency of use of dietary supplements by patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Materials and methods: We have interrogated 200 patients with DM2 (mean age: 60.07 years +/- SD) using a questionnaire. We divided their supplements in 4 groups: dietary supplements for diabetes, tea, vitamins and other dietary supplements without effect on diabetes. We gave a mark for each supplement. Results: 54.5% of the diabetic patients use some kind of dietary supplement; 22.94% use more than 1 type; 12.84% use dietary supplements for diabetes, 63.3% use tea, 31.9% some kind of vitamins and 17.43% dietary supplements without effect on diabetes. 38.5% of the patients don’t know the mechanism of action of dietary supplements they take. 41.3% couldn’t detect any effect after taking them. Supplements with positive effect were more frequently discussed with the doctor (p=0.0005) Young patients take them more frequently than elders (p=0.01). The dietary supplements recommended by doctors or books were cheaper than those suggested by pharmacists or media (p=0.03). Only 50% of the leaflets were adequate. Conclusion: Diabetic patients use very frequently dietary supplements. In half of the cases, particularly the supplements recommended by media, were expensive, ineffective and 8.3% even toxic.
Keywords: dietary supplements, type 2 diabetes mellitus