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Pediatrics. 2008 Aug;122(2):e446-51. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-0266. Epub 2008 Jul 28.

Use of complementary and alternative medicine by pediatric patients with functional and organic gastrointestinal diseases: results from a multicenter survey.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, St Antonius Hospital, PO Box 2500, 3430 EM Nieuwegein, Netherlands. a.vlieger@antonius.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Many pediatric patients use complementary and alternative medicine, especially when facing a chronic illness for which treatment options are limited. So far, research on the use of complementary and alternative medicine in patients with functional gastrointestinal disease has been scarce. This study was designed to assess complementary and alternative medicine use in children with different gastrointestinal diseases, including functional disorders, to determine which factors predicted complementary and alternative medicine use and to assess the willingness of parents to participate in future studies on complementary and alternative medicine efficacy and safety.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use was assessed by using a questionnaire for 749 children visiting pediatric gastroenterology clinics of 9 hospitals in the Netherlands. The questionnaire consisted of 35 questions on the child's gastrointestinal disease, medication use, health status, past and future complementary and alternative medicine use, reasons for its use, and the necessity of complementary and alternative medicine research.

RESULTS:

In this study population, the frequency of complementary and alternative medicine use was 37.6%. A total of 60.3% of this group had used complementary and alternative medicine specifically for their gastrointestinal disease. This specific complementary and alternative medicine use was higher in patients with functional disorders than organic disorders (25.3% vs 17.2%). Adverse effects of allopathic medication, school absenteeism, age <or=11 years, and a low effect of conventional treatment were predictors of specific complementary and alternative medicine use. Almost all (93%) of the parents considered it important that pediatricians initiate complementary and alternative medicine research, and 51% of parents were willing to participate in future complementary and alternative medicine trials.

CONCLUSIONS:

Almost 40% of parents of pediatric gastroenterology patients are turning to complementary and alternative medicine for their child. Lack of effectiveness of conventional therapy, school absenteeism, and adverse effects of allopathic medication are more important predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use than the type of gastrointestinal disease. Because evidence on most complementary and alternative medicine modalities in children with gastrointestinal disorders is lacking, there is an urgent need for research in this field.

PMID:
18662934
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2008-0266
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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