Use of complementary therapy by adolescents with asthma

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Oct;156(10):1042-4. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.156.10.1042.

Abstract

Background: About 40% of adult Americans use complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) for health problems.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of reported use of CAM in a population of urban adolescents with asthma.

Design/methods: We used a multistaged, stratified sample approach at an inner-city high school. An asthma screening survey was administered to 3800 registered students, aged 13 to 18 years. We identified a subset of 200 respondents who answered yes to each of the following questions: (1) Does your physician think that you have asthma? (2) Do your parents think that you have asthma? (3) Do you think that you have asthma? A self-completion questionnaire was administered to a sample drawn from this cohort. Differences in proportion were tested by chi( 2) analyses.

Results: Of the 160 participants, 63% were female, 68% were Hispanic, 26% were African American, 33% had weekly symptoms, and 14% had daily symptoms. Overall, 80% of participants reported using CAM for asthma. The most commonly reported CAM included rubs (74%), herbal teas (39%), prayer (37%), massage (36%), and Jarabe 7 syrup (24%). Subjects with daily or weekly symptoms were more likely to use CAM for each episode of asthma (72% vs 51%; P =.005). The 61% of subjects who had a family member who used CAM were more likely to use CAM again (84% vs 39%; P<.001). Of the respondents, 59% reported that CAM was effective. Subjects who perceived CAM to be effective were more likely to use it again (96% vs 22%; P<.001).

Conclusions: Most adolescents with asthma in this study used CAM. The prevalence of CAM use in this study population was twice the national average for adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male