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Minerva Pediatrica 2013 August;65(4):361-70


language: Italian

Review on the use of complementary medicine in pediatrics: an interregional study

Filippo M. 1, Oliverio A. C. 1, Altomare F. 1, Zurlo F. 1, Savino F. 2, Oggero R. 2, Dolceamore T. R. 3, Miniero R. 1

1 Cattedra di Pediatria. Università Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italia; 2 Dipartimento di Scienze della Sanità Pubblica e Pediatriche, Università di Torino, Torino, Italia; 3 Pediatria di famiglia/Cattedra di Pediatria, Università Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italia


Aim: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has not been widely studied among children in Italy. ISTAT-2005 survey showed a prevalence of 10% of children treated with CAM. Most of other contributes were related to Northern populations. The aim of our study was to analyse the rate of CAM use in the children living in Piemonte compared to the children living in Calabria.
Methods: Data were collected through a structural questionnaire administered to the parents of the children admitted to the pediatric department of the Regional Hospital in Torino, Catanzaro and Cosenza. The questionnaire included questions about the use of CAM and the demographic characteristics of the parents and the child responding.
Results: For the study 1156 questionnaires were distributed in total and 1136 were analyzed. Overall the response rate was more than 98%. In Turin 43% of the children were treated also with CAM, in Cosenza and in Catanzaro 38% and 21%, respectively. The parents who used CAM for their children were more aged and with a higher education. In Turin homeopathy was used more, in the south of Italy phytotherapy was preferred. More acute respiratory diseases were the most frequent diseases treated with CAM. In the majority of cases CAM were prescribed by pediatricians. Most of the people preferred CAM for less side effects and the majority of them declared to be satisfied. Furthermore, this survey shows that parents use CAM as complementary rather than alternative to medicine.
Conclusion: Our study remarks as the use of CAM is dramatically increased among the Italian children in the last years as well as in other countries. Pediatricians need to improve their knowledge about CAM in order to better manage parental attitude.

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