Review Articles

Complementary and alternative medicine use among children with asthma in Australia


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.