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J Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Jun;38(3):252-7.

Survey of the use of complementary medicines and therapies in children with asthma.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia. gilshen@med.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To survey the frequency of use of complementary medicines (CM) and complementary therapies (CT) in asthmatic children.

METHODOLOGY:

A 3-month survey of asthmatic inpatients and outpatients of a teaching hospital respiratory paediatrician was undertaken. Parents answered a structured questionnaire about their past and present usage and opinions of CM and CT. Parents and the physician independently assessed overall asthma control. 'Users' and 'non-users' of CM and CT were compared for characteristics of asthma, usage of conventional medications and parental demographics.

RESULTS:

One hundred and seventy-four children with 331 parents were enrolled in the study. All of the children were on bronchodilators and 150 (86.2%) were on disodium cromoglycate or inhaled steroids. Control was assessed by a physician as good in 95 children (54.6%), fair in 65 (37.4%) and poor or very poor in 13 (7.5%). Ninety (51.7%) of the children had used at least one CM in their lifetime. Out of the 145 preparations used, 90 (62.1%) were in current use. Vitamins and minerals (53.2%) and herbal preparations (29%) were used most commonly. Only 47.8% of parents had told their doctors about the use of CM. Costs ranged from $A2-$A200 (median $A10) per month. Forty-three (24.7%) of the children had been taken to an alternative practitioner at a cost of $A25-$A400 (median $A40) per month. Users of CM and CT were significantly more likely than non-users to have persistent asthma (P < 0.02), be on high-dose inhaled or oral steroids (P < 0.05), to have poor or very poor control of symptoms (P < 0.04), and more frequent doctor visits (P < 0.05). They also had more adverse reactions to relieving bronchodilators (P < 0.02) and were significantly older than non-users (P < 0.02). The most common reasons for using CM and CT were dissatisfaction with conventional therapies and concerns about steroid side-effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

Health professionals should be aware of the high rates of usage of CM and CT in asthmatic children and of parental attitudes to conventional and alternative therapies.

PMID:
12047692
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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