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Use of complementary and alternative medicine in patients with inherited metabolic disease

Sahin Erdol and Halil Saglam



There are no studies on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in subjects with inherited metabolic disease (IMD) in the current literature. This study aimed to determine the type, frequency of and reasons for the use, and factors associated with the use of CAM therapies.


Subjects included in this study consisted of 335 children (95.7%) and 15 (4.3%) adults with a median age of 5.66±6.16 (0.08–48) years with inherited metabolic disease. A single physician conducted face-to-face interviews with the mother and/or father for pediatric subjects and with the subjects themselves for adults of a normal intelligence. Data were obtained from responses to the questions in the standard survey form.


Our study included 350 patients in total, of whom 164 (46.9%) were female and 186 (53.1%) male. We found that 144 of the patients (41.1%) had used at least one CAM therapy method. The highest rate of use among the CAM therapy methods was of the mind-body approach therapies (n=98, 28%). This was followed by biologically-based (n=75, 21.4%) and manipulative and body-based (n=5, 1.4%) therapies, respectively. The most commonly used herbal product was herbal tea (n=21, 6%), and the most commonly used dietary supplementation was a royal jelly and pollen mixture (n=9, 2.6%). Significant differences in the subjects’ age, their follow-up duration, their mother’s and father’s ages, and CAM therapy use were identified from sociodemographic data.


In our study, the use of CAM therapies was determined at a high rate. This is important when dealing with clinical problems and for clinicians who follow-up with IMD subjects and suspect they may be using CAM therapy.

Corresponding author: Sahin Erdol, MD, Uludag University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Metabolism, Gorukle, Bursa 16059, Turkey, Phone: +90 224 2950546, Fax: +90 224 4428143

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2018-04-08
Accepted: 2018-08-09
Published Online: 2018-09-04
Published in Print: 2018-10-25

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