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J Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Dec;47(12):904-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02100.x. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Complementary and alternative medicine in children attending gastroenterology clinics: usage patterns and reasons for use.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, Australia.



The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) appears to be increasing. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the use of CAM in children, investigate factors influencing their use and attitudes towards them and to contrast to previous usage patterns.


Parents of children attending gastroenterology outpatient clinics at a tertiary paediatric hospital completed a questionnaire providing details of CAM usage, awareness and attitudes.


Sixty-nine percent of the 98 respondents were using or had used CAM (n= 66). Nutritional supplements (n= 37, 56% of CAM users) and probiotics (n= 33, 50%) were most commonly used. Most CAM users sought complementary therapy to help a chronic problem (n= 43, 69.4%) and had been referred by a friend or family member (n= 33, 53.2%). Self-reported well-being was associated with CAM use (P= 0.0009) and CAM were described as partially effective by 40 parents (67.8%). Forty-six parents (75.4%) expressed that they would use CAM again. Seventy-two respondents (80%) believed that doctors should support the use of CAM.


Children attending this gastroenterology clinic are commonly given CAM. Awareness and acceptance of CAM by carers of children with gastroenterology conditions is high.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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