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 July 23, 2003
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Herbal Remedies in Children
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ATLANTA (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Despite the lack of FDA approval for alternative therapies, 45 percent of parents reported giving their child an herbal remedy at least once during the past year.

This is the finding of a new study published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics. Many herbal therapies have potentially harmful side effects and adverse interactions with medications. Researchers have not known the rate of use in children or the caregiver's understanding of the products.

Researchers from Emory University interviewed 142 families asking 18 questions regarding the use of non FDA-regulated herbal products, general product knowledge, and the source of the caregiver's information.

Results showed 45 percent of caregivers gave their child an herbal remedy during the past year. Of these children, over half received one type and 27 percent received three or more types. The most common agents used were aloe plant/juice (44 percent), echinacea (33 percent), and sweet oil (25 percent). Of all those interviewed, 77 percent did not know herbal products had side effects. Of the caregivers who used the therapies, 80 percent obtained the information from family members or friends.

Authors conclude it is important for health care providers to have knowledge about herbal medications, to inquire about their use, and to educate families about the risks.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, 2003;111:981-985

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