As a paediatrician in practice, I often have to deal with children who are given complementary and/or alternative medicine (CAM) in addition to the medications and treatment modules prescribed by me. CAM includes traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathic, cupping, joss-stick burns, special diets or dietary restrictions, and many other modalities. I have often cautioned parents who are too enthusiatic about CAM.
A recent study from Melbourne has this sobering results.
Adverse events associated with the use of complementary and alternative medicine in children
Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/adc.2010.183152
Alissa Lim, Noel Cranswick, Michael South ,
Department of General Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia,
The University of Melbourne, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
There were 39 reports of adverse events associated with CAM use, including four reported deaths. Reports highlighted several areas of concern, including the risks associated with failure to use conventional medicine, the risks related to medication changes made by CAM practitioners and the significant dangers of dietary restriction. The reported deaths were associated with a failure to use conventional medicine in favour of a CAM therapy.