Thursday, January 14, 2016

Complementary and alternative medications. The Mayo experience

Daniel Kenney,  Sarah Jenkins,  Paul Youssef,  Suresh Kotagal. .Patient use of complementary and alternative medicines in an outpatient pediatric neurology clinic. Pediatric Neurology. Published Online: January 11, 2016



To describe the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in an outpatient pediatric neurology clinic, and assess family attitudes toward the efficacy of CAM versus prescription medications.


CAM is an important element of the modern healthcare landscape. There is limited information about whether, and to what extent families perceive their utility in childhood neurological disorders.


Surveys were distributed to 500 consecutive patients at a child neurology clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Questions pertained to the child’s diagnoses, use of CAM, the specific CAM modalities that were used . Opinions were also gathered on the perceived efficacy of CAM and their prescription medications. Data were compared using chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests as indicated.


484 surveys were returned, of which 327 were usable. Only 17.4% admitted to use of CAM to treat neurological problems. However, in follow-up questioning actually 41.6% of patients recognized that they were using one or more type of CAM. Disorders associated with a statistically significant increased prevalence of CAM use were headache (50.8% with headache used CAM vs 35.7% without headache; p = 0.008, Fisher’s exact test), chronic fatigue (63.2% vs 38.8%; p = 0.005, Fisher’s exact test), and sleep disorders (77.1% vs 37.3%; p < 0.0001, Fisher’s exact test).


A large proportion of pediatric neurology patients in our clinic are also using CAM. Only 38.5% of CAM-using patients recognize themselves as using CAM, underlining the need to inquire in-depth about use of CAM. Patients who are less satisfied with their prescription medications are more likely to use CAM, perhaps reflecting the less-tractable nature of their disorders.
See Alternatives to alternative 4/29/15

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