Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among children with current asthma.Prev Med. 2012 Jan; 54(1):27-31.PM
To estimate the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among children with current asthma.
We analyzed data from the Asthma Call Back Survey (ACBS) 2006-2008. ACBS is a follow-up to the state-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey that collects information on asthma and related factors including CAM use for asthma. The survey is administered to the parents who report in a subset of BRFSS states that their children have asthma. 5435 children had current asthma and were included in this analysis.
Overall, 26.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]=24.5-29.0) of children with current asthma reported CAM use in the previous 12 months. Among them, the three most commonly used therapies were breathing techniques (58.5%; 95% CI=53.6-63.5), vitamins (27.3%; 95% CI=23.0-31.5), and herbal products (12.8%; 95% CI=9.2-16.4). Multivariate analysis of CAM use revealed higher adjusted odds ratios (aOR) among children who experienced cost barriers to conventional health care compared with children with no cost barrier (aOR=1.8; 95% CI=1.2-2.8). Children with poorly controlled asthma were most likely to use all types of CAM when compared to their counterpart with well-controlled asthma: aOR=2.3 (95% CI=1.6-3.3) for any CAM; aOR=1.7 (95% CI=1.2-2.6) for self-care based CAM; and aOR=4.4 (95% CI=1.6-9.3) for practitioner-based CAM.
Children with poorly controlled asthma are more likely to use CAM; this likelihood persists after controlling for other factors (including parent's education, barriers to conventional health care, and controller medication use). CAM is also more commonly used by children who experienced cost barriers to conventional asthma care. CAM use could be a marker to identify patients who need patient/family education and support thus facilitate improved asthma control.