Use of alternative medicines has doubled among kids, especially teens


A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that since 2003, the use of alternative medicines, such as herbal products and nutraceuticals among children has doubled. The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, shows an increased use of Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin among adolescents ages 13 to 18 as the primary driver of the change, despite clinical recommendations against use of such supplements in children. Use of dietary supplements, of which herbal, non-vitamin alternative medicines are one type, remained high but otherwise stable, with approximately one-third of children using a dietary supplement.

Study authors include Dima Qato and Jenny Guadamuz of UIC, Stacy Tessler Lindau of UChicago Medicine, and G. Caleb Alexander of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.