International Survey: 99% of Pediatricians use CAM Remedies
The report Usage and attitudes towards homeopathy and natural remedies in general paediatrics: a cross-country overview (171) was published in 2016. The survey was conducted by an international team of experts (from Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Ukraine, Serbia and Israel) under the direction of Dr. André-Michael Beer (Klinik Blankenstein, Hattingen, Germany). Its aim was to gain an unbiased overview of pediatricians’ attitudes towards using natural remedies and homeopathy when treating children up to 12 years of age. It also aimed to get an overview of the attitudes and differences in attitudes between physicians in different countries, and to evaluate the factors influencing the use of natural remedies by patients and doctors.
The survey included countries with different cultural backgrounds, namely Western Europe (Germany), Eastern Europe (Russia, Bulgaria), Southern Europe (Spain), Latin America (Colombia) and Israel. The data was collected through a structured online questionnaire addressed to pediatricians and general practitioners in May and June 2014. The survey included physicians who had treated at least 50 patients in the age group 0-12 years in the past 3 months. A total of 7,766 doctors were contacted and 1,145 of them agreed to participate. Of these, 582 doctors (Germany, n = 151, Spain, n = 150, Russia, n = 150, Bulgaria, n = 50, Colombia, n = 51, Israel n = 30) met the survey criteria. The average age of the doctors was 48, and they had on average 19 years of experience in their expertise. One third of the physicians had obtained a formal education in homeopathy (ranging from 20% in Israel to 46% in Bulgaria), and 24% received had obtained a formal education in phytotherapy (ranging from 10% in Israel to 28% in Russia). (172)
The findings of the study are summarized in an article by Lara Sutherland: New Study Reveals 99% Doctors Have Recommended Natural Remedies for Children (173), from which we cite:
- “76% of doctors have also recommended homeopathic medicine for a child
- Doctors advocated complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) where they associated a lower risk of side effects compared to conventional medications
- Doctors involved in the study reported a higher usage of CAM than conventional drugs”
“… A new international study of 582 paediatric physicians published today has found almost all have prescribed or recommended a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for a child in the last year. 99% of the doctors involved in the study – Usage and attitudes towards homeopathy and natural remedies in general paediatrics: a crosscountry overview – had recommended a natural remedy and 76% a homeopathic medicine. Study lead Professor André-Michael Beer, head physician of the Department of Natural Medicine in Blankenstein Hospital, Germany, comments: ‘Evidence suggests an increased use of natural medicine prescribing in children, but this study shows us, for the first time, the almost universal acceptance of complementary medicine and the factors influencing doctors’ decision making.’ ”
“Side effects, when compared to conventional medications, were a key driver for doctors’ decision making; 70% associated homeopathic preparations with a lower risk of side effects and 60% for natural medicines. Dr María Pilar Riveros-Huckstadt, a paediatrician at the Centro de Salud La Cala in Mijas Costa, Spain, adds: ‘In paediatrics, it is good for doctors to have other options such as homeopathy and natural remedies to recommend for mild ailments such as infant colic and teething that avoid the potential side effects of conventional treatments. These natural remedies are effective and can positively impact the quality of life for young children and their families.’
For which illnesses is CAM recommended?
The study showed that in homeopathy a key indication is teething: 37% of doctors stated a frequent use. 53% of doctors frequently advocated natural remedies for upper respiratory tract infections, 45% for infant colic and 33% for sleep disturbances.
Higher usage of CAM than conventional drugs
The study, published today in peer-reviewed journal Global Paediatric Health, confirms an increased global interest in alternative remedies for children. In fact, this study highlights a higher usage of CAM than for conventional drugs. CAM – comprised of vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS), phytotherapy (extracts of natural origin) and homeopathy in this study – accounted for 57% of doctors’ recommendations compared to 43% for conventional drugs in the same time period.”
“Recognition of the benefits of homeopathy
Four out of five agreed they consider all potential therapies, not just conventional medicine, for childhood illnesses, with 95% of doctors in the study agreeing with the principles of complementary medicine – integrating CAM and conventional drugs. Recognition of the benefits and usage of homeopathy was positive:
- Over three-quarters of the doctors in the study had recommended a homeopathic medicine for a child
- More than half (51%) agreed homeopathy can enhance recovery and symptom relief
- The study found that recommendation of homeopathic remedies is driven by doctors’ belief that they are associated with a lower risk of side effects (70%)”
(173) SUTHERLAND, Lara. New Study Reveals 99% Doctors Have Recommended Natural Remedies for Children. Businnes Wire [online]. 3. 7. 2016 [cit. 2016-07-09]. Available from: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160703005011/en/Study-Reveals-99-Doctors-Recommended-Natural-Remedies