The use of complementary and alternative medicine among pediatric cystic fibrosis patients

J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Dec;14(10):1271-3. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0185.


Hypothesis: The goal of this paper is to assess the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among children with cystic fibrosis (CF) and the communication with the primary care physician.

Materials and methods: The paper is based on data from surveys mailed to 97 patients recruited from Monmouth Medical CF Center. The questionnaire was anonymous and included 47 questions referring to demographic data (age, sex, number of years since diagnosed, state of residence, use of pancreatic enzymes, overall lung function and general health) as well as questions referring to all types of CAM practices: whole medical systems, manipulative practices, body mind medicine, biologically based practices, and energy medicine.

Results: The response rate was 50.5%, with 81% being pediatric patients under 18 years old. The results showed that 77% of patients use some form of CAM when the definition of CAM therapy included prayer specifically for health reasons. When prayer was excluded from the definition, the use of CAM decreased to 65%. The most commonly used CAM therapies were biologically based practices (53%) followed by body-mind medicine (49%), manipulative practices (14.5%), and whole medical systems (8%). Most of the patients interviewed did not consult a natural practitioner but considered that CAM treatments were beneficial.

Conclusions: The present survey provides current data describing the use of CAM in patients with CF and adds to the increasing body of evidence about CAM use in the United States. Further research is needed to explore the relationship and effectiveness of specific types of CAM practices and their benefits on symptom relief and overall quality of life of CF patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mind-Body Therapies
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology