Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in a population of pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Authors

  • Jonathan E. Markowitz MD, MSCE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    2. Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA
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  • Petar Mamula MD,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • J. Fernando delRosario MD,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware
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  • Robert N. Baldassano MD,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • James D. Lewis MD, MSCE,

    1. Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Abbas F. Jawad PhD,

    1. Division of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Keri Culton BS,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Brian L. Strom MD, MPH

    1. Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

Complementary and alternative medicine use is prominent in the United States. The use of complementary and alternative therapies appears to be common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, but few studies have been completed in children. We sought to examine the extent that children with inflammatory bowel disease in the Greater Philadelphia area (Philadelphia County and the surrounding counties in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) use alternative therapies. We paid particular attention to the specific types of therapies used and whether certain demographic and disease associated factors influence the degree of usage. In this study, we questioned the families of all children diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, aged 6 to 16 years and living within Philadelphia and its surrounding counties, who were followed at 1 of the 2 academic pediatric gastroenterology programs that served the area. More than 80% of surveys were returned. Fifty-one percent (95% C.I. 45% to 56%) of patients surveyed reported some form of alternative medicine use within the previous year. Univariate analysis revealed increased use among patients who had Crohn disease, who used the Internet for research on their disease, who reported poor quality of life and had increased school absences in the past year. Therapies associated with alternative medicine use included biological and immunomodulatory therapy. Regression analysis revealed positive associations between use of alternative therapies and expenditure on nonprescription treatments, poor quality of life, Internet research, and the need for calorie supplementation, whereas there was a negative association with history of prior surgery for inflammatory bowel disease.

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