Complementary and alternative medicine use among children with asthma in Australia

Kok-On Ho et al.


Kok-On Ho
Fourth Year Medicine (Graduate)
University of Sydney

Anne Maree Davis RN MHSc (Asthma Ed)
Department of Respiratory Medicine,
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Prof. Peter Paul van Asperen MD FRACP
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School (Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health), Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney
Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead


Abstract

Aim: To explore current complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by children with asthma in Australia. Methods: The results of an audit of CAM use by one of the authors (AMD) in 212 parents of children with a history of asthma, recruited from three different settings (outpatient clinic at a tertiary paediatric hospital, metropolitan and rural practices) were compared to three published studies of CAM use in children with asthma in Australia, as identified by literature review. Results: The prevalence of CAM use amongst children with asthma in Australia is 45-61%. Common CAM modalities used include chiropractic methods, vitamins and minerals, homeopathy/naturopathy, spiritual/psychological modalities and diet therapy. CAM was used more commonly in female children and those with persistent asthma, poor control of symptoms or using high doses of medication. Importantly, only a small number of parents report their child’s CAM use to their doctors. Conclusion: Recent surveys of CAM use among children with asthma in Australia demonstrate a high prevalence which has important implications for those managing paediatric asthma.