ATL>Complementary medicine use in children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease

Heuschkel, Robert; Afzal, Nadeem; Wuerth, Anne; Zurakowski, David; Leichtner, Alan; Kemper, Kathi; Tolia, Vasundhara; Bousvaros, Athos
February 2002
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Feb2002, Vol. 97 Issue 2, p382
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES:We examined the use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) in children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease.METHODS:After validation of a questionnaire and completion of a pilot survey, children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease were enrolled in three centers of pediatric gastroenterology (Boston, Detroit, and London).RESULTS:Two hundred eight questionnaires were completed in total (Boston, 120; Detroit, 37; London, 51). Ages ranged from 3.8 to 23.0 yr, 58% were male, 57% had Crohn’s disease, and 35% had ulcerative colitis. The frequency of CAM use was 41%. The most common CAMs were megavitamin therapy (19%), dietary supplements (17%), and herbal medicine (14%). Parental CAM use and the number of adverse effects from conventional medicines were predictors of CAM use (odds ratio = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.2–3.1, p = 0.02; odds ratio = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.2–1.5, p < 0.001, respectively). The most important reasons respondents gave for using CAM were side effects from prescribed medicines, prescribed medicines not working as well as they had hoped, and hoping for a cure. Fifty-nine percent of respondents not taking CAM were interested in learning more about it.CONCLUSIONS:In our survey over 40% of children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease used complementary medicine in addition to conventional therapies. Parental CAM use and number of adverse effects from conventional therapies were the only independent predictors of CAM use. Some complementary therapies have potential for adverse effects and for drug interactions with conventional treatments. Physicians should take a thorough history of CAM use in children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease.


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