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Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Children Recently Diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

LEVY, SUSAN E. M.D.; MANDELL, DAVID S. Sc.D.; MERHAR, STEPHANIE B.A.; ITTENBACH, RICHARD F. Ph.D.; PINTO-MARTIN, JENNIFER A. Ph.D.

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: December 2003 - Volume 24 - Issue 6 - p 418-423
ORIGINAL ARTICLES

ABSTRACT. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of use of different types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among a sample of children with suspected or recently diagnosed autism. The authors’ review of 284 charts of children seen at the Regional Autism Center of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that more than 30% of children were using some CAM, and that 9% were using potentially harmful CAM. Having an additional diagnosis was protective against CAM use and being Latino was associated with CAM use. Having seen a prior provider regarding the child’s health condition was predictive of potentially harmful CAM use. Further research is required on cultural differences in treatment decisions about CAM, as well as the reasons for the association between the use of prior providers and CAM. The high prevalence of CAM use among a recently diagnosed sample indicates that clinicians should discuss CAM early in the assessment process.

Regional Autism Center, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Division of Biostatistics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Received February 2003; accepted September 2003.

Address for reprints: Dr. Levy, Children’s Seashore House, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 3405 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.