Document Detail

Views of pediatric health care providers on the use of herbs and dietary supplements in children.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16151563     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Herbs and dietary supplements (HDS) are widely used by adults for treating illnesses and/or preserving good health, and many parents use HDS for their children as well. Previous reports suggest parents will not divulge HDS use to health care providers for fear of their skepticism or disapproval. Yet the views of pediatric health care providers on HDS use in children are not well known. This study investigated the attitudes and practices of pediatric nurses and physicians regarding HDS use in children, in order to identify those characteristics associated with a high degree of confidence in initiating a dialogue on the topic of HDS with families in their practice. A written survey on attitudes and practices toward HDS was developed, piloted, revised, and then administered to a convenience sample of practitioners attending a regional postgraduate course in general pediatrics. Only 42% of 204 pediatric health care providers sampled felt confident in initiating discussions about the therapeutic use of herbs and dietary supplements with families in their practice. Confidence in discussing HDS with families correlated with both personal use of an HDS (OR 3.22; p=0.033) and length of time in practice less than 10 years (OR 8.26; p=0.007). Less than 18% felt that HDS were safe for children under 6 months of age; and only 35% felt they were safe for use in children < 24 months old. Only 7% felt that parents should be allowed to give their hospitalized child an herb or dietary supplement they had brought with them from home, although this increased to 35% if the herb or dietary supplement had been prescribed by a physician. Ninety-two percent of practitioners thought that HDS should be more closely regulated by the FDA. Only a minority of pediatric community practitioners felt confident in discussing HDS with families of children in their practice. Those who had been in practice for a shorter time and who had used HDS themselves were more likely to report confidence in initiating such discussions. The provision of more postgraduate educational opportunities to learn about herbs and dietary supplements may alleviate some practitioners' concerns about their own competency in discussing HDS with families in their practice.
Alan D Woolf; Paula Gardiner; Julia Whelan; Hillel R Alpert; Lana Dvorkin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical pediatrics     Volume:  44     ISSN:  0009-9228     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin Pediatr (Phila)     Publication Date:  2005 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-09-09     Completed Date:  2006-01-27     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372606     Medline TA:  Clin Pediatr (Phila)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  579-87     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Division of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude of Health Personnel*
Cross-Sectional Studies
Dietary Supplements*
Middle Aged
Pediatric Nursing*
Physician's Practice Patterns*
Physician-Patient Relations
Grant Support

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