Complementary or alternative therapies do not adversely affect conventional asthma treatment adherence to conventional treatments, and clinicians should query patients about alternative treatment use, according to study results published online.
Julie C. Philp, MD, of the departments of dermatology, pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California’s San Francisco School of Medicine, and colleagues looked at data on 187 children who were prescribed daily asthma medication from 2004 to 2007. The researchers recorded children’s demographic factors; caregiver perception of asthma control; use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); the percentage of doses missed per week; and a previously validated “Medication Adherence Scale score” to determine whether the use of CAM decreased adherence to conventional asthma medicines, as suggested by other studies.
Philp and colleagues defined CAM use as use of alternative medical systems such as homeopathy; mind-body interventions such as imagery; biologically based therapies such as herbs; manipulative and body-based therapies such as massage and chiropractics; and energy therapies such as healing touch. Overall, patients had a high rate of adherence, with a mean of 7.7% missed doses per week, and there was no statistical connection between CAM and decreased adherence, the researchers said.
“As some CAM modalities have side effects and interactions with conventional medications, a collaborative approach can help avoid a situation where parents feel uncomfortable disclosing their CAM use to physicians,” the researchers wrote. “Conversely, because CAM users tend to report a positive effect after using CAM, physicians who are knowledgeable and supportive of the safe use of CAM may strengthen their therapeutic relationships with patients.”
Disclosure: Dr. Philp reports no relevant financial disclosures.