Purpose: Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in children is common and increasing worldwide, thus there is a necessity to assess the CAM use among pediatrics in Palestine. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of CAM use among a sample of Palestinian children, to identify the types and the purposes of CAM used, and to investigate the factors affecting the CAM use.
Methods: A cross-sectional study using a convenient sample was collected from June 2015 to January 2016 from Primary care for Motherhood and Childhood Centers in Nablus city in Palestine. 420 parents who had children aged 6 years and below were interviewed. Parents who agreed to participate were asked to answer a survey that consists mainly of closed-ended questions. Analysis was performed using SPSS version 16.0.
Results: The use of CAM were detected in all the interviewers 420 (100%). Most common treatment used was herbal therapy 400 (95.2%) and anise was the most common herbal therapy used (334, 79.5%). A total of 371 (88.3%) of respondent used CAM for digestive system problems . The main reason for using CAM was making the child more comfortable (365, 86.9%). About 385 (91.5%) of interviewers found that CAM was useful and 369 (87.9%) believed that CAM had no complications or adverse effects. Relative and friends (290, 69%) accounted for the most common source of information.
Conclusion: Considering the results that all parents used CAM, and health care providers were not among the main sources of CAM information, and most parents were not aware of the adverse effects of CAM, it is recommended that healthcare providers should provide information to parents regarding CAM benefits and disadvantages. It is also recommended to enhance community knowledge regarding the appropriate use of CAM types. Also pharmacists and clinical pharmacists should have a rule in awareness, because of increasing the possibility of interactions with conventional medications.