Don't ask, don't tell: parental nondisclosure of complementary and alternative medicine and over-the-counter medication use in children's asthma management

J Pediatr Health Care. Jul-Aug 2008;22(4):221-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2007.07.001. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Introduction: Parent-health care provider (HCP) communication is an important component of pediatric asthma management. Given the high prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and over-the-counter (OTC) medication use among this population, it is important to examine parental nondisclosure of these asthma management strategies.

Method: One-time interview and 1-year retrospective medical record review with 228 parents of 5- to 12-year-old children with asthma enrolled from six pediatric primary care practices examining parental nondisclosure of CAM and OTC medication use, reasons for nondisclosure, medical record documentation of CAM usage, and association between parent-HCP relationship and nondisclosure.

Results: Seventy-one percent of parents reported using CAM and/or OTC medication for children's asthma management, and 54% of those parents did not disclose usage. Seventy-five percent "did not think" to discuss it. Better parent-HCP relationship led to decreased nondisclosure.

Discussion: HCPs can play an important role in creating an environment where parents feel comfortable sharing information about their children's asthma management strategies in order to arrive at a shared asthma management plan for the child, leading to improved asthma health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Disclosure*
  • Humans
  • Nonprescription Drugs*
  • Parents*


  • Nonprescription Drugs