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CAM use in pediatric neurology: an exploration of concurrent use with conventional medicine

Galicia-Connolly E, Adams D, Bateman J, Dagenais S, Clifford T, Baydala L, King WJ, Vohra S. CAM use in pediatric neurology: An exploration of concurrent use with conventional medicine. Plos One. 2014;9(4)e94078.

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies have found that up to 60% of children with neurologic conditions have tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the use of CAM among patients presenting to neurology clinics at two academic centers in Canada.

METHODS:

A survey instrument was developed to inquire about use of CAM products and therapies, including reasons for use, perceived helpfulness, and concurrent use with conventional medicine, and administered to patients or their parents/guardians at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa.

RESULTS:

Overall CAM use at the Stollery was 78%, compared to 48% at CHEO. The most common CAM products used were multi-vitamins (84%), vitamin C (37%), homeopathic remedies (24%), and fish oil/omega 3 s (22%). The most common CAM practices used were massage (47%), chiropractic (37%), faith healing (18%), aromatherapy (16%), homeopathy (16%), and relaxation (16%). Many patients used CAM products at the same time as conventional medicine but just over half (57%) discussed this concurrent use with their physician.

CONCLUSION:

CAM use is common in pediatric neurology patients and most respondents felt that it was helpful, with few or no harms associated. However, this use is often undisclosed, increasing possibility of interactions with conventional drugs. We urge clinicians to inquire about CAM use during routine history taking at every patient visit. Parents would clearly like more information aboutCAM from their specialty clinics; such information would be easier to share if more primary data were available about the safety and effectiveness of commonly used therapies.