Complementary and alternative medicine use in children with haematological disorders

Author : Smita Sontakke, Viraj Shinde , V.M. Motghare, Sonali Pimpalkhute, Chaitali Bajait, Kavita Jaiswal

Objectives: To study pattern of complementary and alternative medicine(CAM) use in paediatric patients suffering from thalassemia and compare CAM use in patients of thalassemia and sickle cell disease(SCD). Methodology: This was a prospective, cross sectional study conducted after approval of ethics committee. Patients suffering from thalassemia or SCD, of either gender were included after obtaining informed consent. Parents accompanying patients were interviewed and information obtained was entered in self-developed, semi structured, pretested questionnaire. Results: Use of CAM as reported by parents was 34.78% and 30.13% in thalassemia and SCD respectively (p = 0.476). Ayurveda (78% and 71%) and homeopathy (22% and 29%) were most common CAM used in both diseases. Most parents didnít disclose CAM use to their doctor (84.37% & 85.50%). Significantly more parents of SCD children reported to have benefitted from CAM (p = 0.0122). Benefits obtained from CAM were: symptomatic improvement, increased haemoglobin, reduced blood transfusion. Reasons for stopping CAM were: no relief with treatment, adverse effects & high cost. Conclusion: Results of this study indicate that CAM use is similar in SCD and thalassemia. Many patients who used CAM with conventional medicines, didnít disclose CAM use to their doctors, thereby increasing possibility of potential interactions and avoidable problems.

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