Use of herbal remedies and adherence to inhaled corticosteroids among inner-city asthmatic patients

Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.
Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 02/2010; 104(2):132-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2009.11.024
Source: PubMed


Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), such as herbal remedies, are widely used by patients with chronic diseases, such as asthma. However, it is unclear whether use of the herbal remedies is associated with decreased adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), a key component of asthma management.
To examine the association among use of herbal remedies, adherence to prescribed ICSs, and medication and disease beliefs.
We 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. Medication adherence was assessed using the Medication Adherence Report Scale, a validated self-report measure. Univariate and multiple regression analyses were used to assess the relationship among herbal remedy use, adherence to ICSs, and medication and disease beliefs.
Overall, 25.4% (95% confidence interval, 20%-30%) of patients reported herbal remedy use. Univariate analyses showed that herbal remedy use was associated with decreased ICS adherence and increased asthma morbidity. In multivariable analysis, herbal remedy use was associated with lower ICS adherence (odds ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-0.8) after adjusting for confounders. Herbal remedy users were also more likely to worry about the adverse effects of ICSs (P = .01).
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.

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Available from: Howard Leventhal, Jan 13, 2014
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    • "In one study, 57% of >2100 study participants admitted to herbal use at some point in their lives (Adusumilli et al., 2004). At least 25% of asthmatic New Yorkers have reported herbal remedy use (Roy et al., 2010). Ayuverdic herbal supplements have also gained popularity among 9/11 victims to alleviate their respiratory health problems (Dahl and Falk, 2008). "
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