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Article
October 2002

Use of Complementary Therapy by Adolescents With Asthma

Author Affiliations

From the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, NY.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(10):1042-1044. 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 χ2 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.

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