Awareness and practices of complementary and alternative medicine among paediatric patients visiting two tertiary care hospitals in Mangaluru: An interview based study

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Biomedical and Pharmacology Journal


This study aims to find out the details of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in children, including factors favouring their use and concomitant usage of allopathic drugs along with CAM. The study also analyses the communication between allopathic practitioners and patients regarding utilization of CAM. It was an interview based study based on a semi-structured interview. The study sample included parents of children waiting in the paediatric outpatient department. A total of 200 parents were interviewed. Though most of the parents were aware about CAM, around 10% parents were ignorant. Ayurveda was the most commonly used CAM followed by homeopathy. Fifty-four children had taken CAM for the first time at an age of less than 6 months. The most common condition for which children were taking CAM was related to the diseases of respiratory system. The primary reason for preferring CAM over allopathy is that they believe it is natural and has no adverse effects. Only 23% of the parents voluntarily informed the doctors that the child was taking CAM concurrently and half of the parents stated that the treating physician did not enquire regarding CAM therapy. As evident from the study, use of CAM in children starts at a very early age hence the safety and efficacy of these therapies should be well established before children are exposed to them. Hazards of concomitant administration of CAM along with allopathic medicines should also be carefully evaluated by all the treating physicians.

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