To describe the frequency of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and to explore whether CAM was associated with patient-specific characteristics, parent-specific characteristics, and medical management factors.
Parents of children with JIA completed questionnaires that addressed the use of CAM, adherence and perceived problems, parental distress, and coping with childhood illness. Clinical variables were abstracted from the patients' medical files.
One hundred-eighteen children with JIA, mean ± SD age of 10.4 ± 3.9 years and mean ± SD disease duration of 4.5 ± 3.5 years, participated in the study. Ever use of CAM was 33.9% and was higher in patients whose parents used CAM (odds ratio [OR] 5.1, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.4–19.5) and among those who considered themselves as “Canadian” as opposed to belonging to a specific ethnic group (OR 10. 7, 95% CI 1.2–99.8). Adherence to conventional treatment was high for both users and nonusers of CAM.
Use of CAM is common among patients with JIA. CAM use is not related to any decrease in adherence to conventional medical treatment.