Use of complementary and alternative medicine in a pediatric population in southern Turkey

Araz, Nilgun; Bulbul, Selda
February 2011
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Feb2011, Vol. 34 Issue 1, pE21
Academic Journal
Purpose: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in children is becoming increasingly acceptable and popular. The aim of this questionnaire-based study was to determine the prevalence, patterns of use, types, perceived effectiveness and associated factors of CAM in children. Methods: Parents of children (n= 268) who attended the Pediatric Outpatient Department of the Faculty of Medicine at Gaziantep University in June and July 2008 were asked to complete a questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of CAM use, at least once in the previous year, was 58.6%. The most commonly used CAM modality was herbal preparations (82.7%), which were used to treat cough (42.0%), diarrhea (30.0%) and gas (colic) pains (34.4%). These products were recommended by the respondents' mother/mother-in-law (52.5%), neighbors (20.0%), friends (14.7%) and doctors (12.8%). Only 31.6% (61) of these parents informed their doctor about their use of CAM to treat their children. Thirty-eight percent (n=102) of the participants stated that they preferred to use CAM modalities rather than referring to a doctor when their child was sick. While most of the families (57.7 %) stated that the method they used was "slightly" useful, 18.6% of them stated the method to be "fairly" useful. The parental use of CAM and the educational level of the parents were among the factors of affecting the use of CAM in children. No correlation was found between the use of CAM and the sex, social security status, income level and other sociodemographic properties of the respondents. Conclusion: This study showed that a great majority of parents of children in this population used CAM modalities and that herbal products were preferred. Most parents did not inform their physicians of their use of CAM. In the light of these findings, pediatricians should be prepared to discuss alternative therapies with parents, since talking about CAM may be helpful in minimizing associated risks.


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