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Thread: Alternative Medicine Use Among Children

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    Alternative Medicine Use Among Children

    A new study published in Pediatrics finds that the use of complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is common among children, especially those who have been diagnosed with chronic health conditions such as asthma. In the analysis, researchers asked 926 Canadian parents at two children’s hospitals about their CAM use; half said their children had used the therapies at the same time they were taking conventional drugs, while 10% tried alternative therapies before turning to conventional treatments and 5% used CAM in place of conventional medicine. Yet many parents weren’t telling pediatricians that their children were using CAM, which could increase the possibility of dangerous interactions.

    The most commonly used CAM therapies included massage, faith healing, chiropractic and aromatherapy, while the most popular products to treat conditions ranging from cancer to asthma and inflammatory bowel disease were vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies and homeopathic medicines.

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    With CAM being used by so many children, however, she and her colleagues say it’s time for pediatricians to do a better job of discussing the safety and efficacy of the therapies with parents. “Given the rates of use, we would like to encourage all health care providers to ask about complementary therapies and we encourage all parents to tell,” says Vohra. “In many cases, it’s not discussed because parents think doctors won’t support them, but it’s far better to have an open discussion.”

    Such discussions can avoid potentially harmful interactions between conventional medicines and herbal remedies, for example, or other incompatibilities that can worsen, rather than improve, symptoms. In the study, parents reported 80 adverse effects, most of which were described as minor.

    I don't understand why a parent wouldn't admit or openly express using alternative treatments - so many people are trying them and I know there are certain herbs, for example, that really don't interact well with pharmaceuticals. I suppose they might think their doctor will judge them for not using established protocols in western medicine, but majority of physicians I have come across have actually advocated trying alternative medicine.

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    KC (01-15-2013)

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    Any kid with asthma should try a good quality unpasteurized milk.

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    I'll often times try my girlfriend's mom's alternative medicines when I get sick just to make her happy. Most of them are harmless and I'm sure a few of them work, but it's probably something I should pay more attention to.

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