Herbal remedies in asthma associated with lower adherence to inhaled steroids and worse outcomes

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), such as herbal remedies, are widely used by patients with chronic diseases, such as asthma.

The researchers surveyed 326 adults with persistent asthma who received care at 2 inner-city outpatient clinics. Patients were asked about CAM use (teas, herbs, and rubs) for the treatment of asthma in the prior 6 months.

25.4% of patients reported herbal remedy use. Herbal remedy use was associated with decreased inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) adherence and increased asthma morbidity. Herbal remedy users were also more likely to worry about the adverse effects of ICSs.

The use of herbal remedies was associated with lower adherence to ICSs and worse outcomes among inner-city asthmatic patients. Medication beliefs, such as worry about ICS adverse effects, may in part mediate this relationship. Physicians should routinely ask patients with asthma about CAM use, especially those whose asthma is poorly controlled.

A 2012 study suggested that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and adherence with pediatric asthma treatment were not necessarily “competitive” http://goo.gl/HPUJR


Use of herbal remedies and adherence to inhaled corticosteroids among inner-city asthmatic patients. Roy A, Lurslurchachai L, Halm EA, Li XM, Leventhal H, Wisnivesky JP. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 Feb;104(2):132-8.
No Chinese manufacturer has successfully registered herbal medicinal products in the EU - all will be banned in May. The Lancet, 2011.
"Traditional Chinese herbal remedy kampo relieved asthma symptoms in nearly all patients in Japanese study". WebMD, 2012.
Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

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