The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Pediatric Food-Allergic Patients in Japan.
ABSTRACT Background: In developed countries, increasing food allergy prevalence and concern regarding food allergies have been reported. Although the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of allergic diseases has increased in some Western countries, the actual proportion and patterns of CAM use for pediatric food allergies in Japan are still unknown. Methods: Fourteen allergy centers in Japan participated in the study using a questionnaire survey regarding the use of CAM by pediatric patients. A diagnosis of food allergy was made at each hospital by pediatric allergists. Results: Surveys were completed by parents/guardians, and data were collected for a total of 962 pediatric food-allergic patients. Overall, 8.4% of the participants used CAM to treat a food allergy. The major CAM therapies used were herbal teas (22.2%), including several Japanese herbal teas, Chinese herbal medicine (18.5%) and lactic acid bacteria (16%). Among the participants using CAM to treat food allergy, 13.6% thought that the CAM being used was very effective, while 11.1% of participants thought that CAM caused some type of side effect. Conclusions: Our study is the first large-scale national survey regarding the use of CAM in pediatric patients with food allergies in Japan. Unlike in the USA, which has a higher rate of CAM use (17%), approximately 8.4% of food-allergic patients used CAM in Japan. Interestingly, the major types of CAM used in Japan differed from those used in the USA. Cultural differences and food customs may affect the use of CAM.
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ABSTRACT: It is reported that 6% of children and 3% of adults have food allergies, with studies suggesting increased prevalence worldwide over the last few decades. Despite this, our diagnostic capabilities and techniques for managing patients with food allergies remain limited. We have conducted a systematic review of literature published within the last 5 years on the diagnosis and management of food allergies. While the gold standard for diagnosis remains the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, this assessment is resource intensive and impractical in most clinical situations. In an effort to reduce the need for the double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge, several risk-stratifying tests are employed, namely skin prick testing, measurement of serum-specific immunoglobulin E levels, component testing, and open food challenges. Management of food allergies typically involves allergen avoidance and carrying an epinephrine autoinjector. Clinical research trials of oral immunotherapy for some foods, including peanut, milk, egg, and peach, are under way. While oral immunotherapy is promising, its readiness for clinical application is controversial. In this review, we assess the latest studies published on the above diagnostic and management modalities, as well as novel strategies in the diagnosis and management of food allergy.Journal of asthma and allergy. 01/2014; 7:141-64.