Alternative therapies may leave asthmatics gasping

Nov 30, 2010

Approximately 13 percent of parents turn to alternative therapies to treat their children's asthma, according to a new study from the Université de Montréal. The findings, published recently in the Canadian Respiratory Journal, suggest that this trend is associated with a two-fold higher rate of poor asthma control in children.

"Previous studies have shown that close to 60 percent of parents believe that complementary and alternative medicines are helpful," says seniour author Francine M. Ducharme, a Université de Montréal professor and pediatrician and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center. "Yet, well designed studies have failed to show any evidence that therapies such as acupuncture, homeophathy, chiropractic medicine or herbal therapy are effective in asthma. Parents may not be aware of the risk associated with the use of , including adverse reactions, possible interactions with conventional asthma therapy, as well as delay in taking, and compliance with, effective asthma therapy. Our findings confirm that children using complimentary or alternative medicine, are twice as likely to have poor asthma control that those that don't. "

More than 2000 children assessed

Questionnaires were completed by more than 2000 families who came to the Asthma Centre at the Montreal Children's Hospital for an initial visit. Parents were asked if they used any form of alternative medicine to help alleviate their children's asthma and to specify which type. Health information, patient demographics, asthma severity and control were then compiled.

The findings showed that over eight years, the use of alternative therapy remained stable around 13 percent, a five-fold lower rate than in the United States. There was a relationship between alternative and complementary medicine use, and pre-school age, Asian ethnicity, episodic asthma, and poor . The most commonly reported included supplemental vitamins, homeopathy and acupuncture.

"Most of the children receiving these therapies were younger than six," says Ducharme. "This is particularly troublesome, given that there is no evidence that these therapies are effective and preschool aged children suffer more asthma flare-ups requiring an emergency department visit than all other age groups. Our study may serve as a reminder to parents that alternative and complementary medicine has not been proven effective in asthma and that it may interfere with effective conventional therapy: they should first discuss its use with their physicians. It should also serve as reminder to health care professionals to inquire about alternative therapy use, particularly if is not well controlled, and initiate appropriate counselling."

Explore further: Poland suffers first cases of African swine fever in pigs

More information: www.pulsus.com/journals/journa… tm&&HCtype=Physician

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Children's asthma affected by parental expectations

Oct 06, 2008

Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition, according to a new study. Children also are more ...

Experts warn against allergy alternatives

Mar 22, 2007

Experts at the University of Washington and other colleges warn that patients seeking alternative allergy treatments should not quit standard medications.

Asthma risk increases in children treated for HIV

Jul 01, 2008

Children whose immune systems rebound after treatment with potent anti-viral drugs for HIV infection face an increased risk of developing asthma, said a federally funded consortium of researchers led by those from Baylor ...

Recommended for you

Diseases of another kind

12 hours ago

The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people's lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such ...

User comments : 0