Use of complementary alternative medicine in pediatric otolaryngology patients: a survey

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Feb;78(2):248-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.11.016. Epub 2013 Nov 25.


Objective: Limited data are available about complementary alternative medicine (CAM) use in children attending otolaryngology services. We investigated the pattern of CAM use among children and adolescents attending a pediatric otolaryngology clinic.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey. Anonymous questionnaires were administered, prior to doctor's admission, to parents accompanying young patients attending the pediatric otolaryngology clinic. Parents were asked about their general attitude toward CAM and whether they had ever consulted or considered a consultation with a CAM therapist. Subsequently, CAM users were asked to provide details on CAM modalities used and on their overall satisfaction with CAM therapy.

Results: Of 308 questionnaires administered, 294 parents responded (95% response rate). Ninety-four parents (32%) reported considering CAM, or previous or current CAM use. Commonly used CAM treatments were acupuncture (44%), homeopathy (36%), and naturopathy (6.7%). CAM users assessed success rate as being: successful (37%), unsuccessful (24%) or undetermined (39%). Successful treatment was described in terms of cure, improvement and better awareness of the problem being addressed. In most cases parents stated that the primary physician was aware of CAM use by the child (74%).

Conclusions: CAM plays a substantial role among parents of children referred to pediatric otolaryngology consultation. The otolaryngologist awareness of parents' preference and interest may contribute to decision making regarding pediatric patients' management. Further investigations regarding CAM are warranted and clinical collaboration with CAM therapists should be considered.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Complementary alternative medicine (CAM); Doctor–patient communication; Homeopathy; Pediatrics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Otolaryngology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires