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Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Childhood Asthma: An Overview of Evidence and Patents

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 1 ]


Kam-Lun E. Hon, Ching Ki Fung, Alexander K.C. Leung, Theresa Ngan-Ho Leung and Daniel K.K. Ng   Pages 66 - 79 ( 14 )


Asthma is a prevalent childhood atopic disease associated with significant impairment of quality of life. Management relies on avoidance of triggers such as food and aeroallergens, the use of inhaled bronchodilators/corticosteroids and anti-allergic or immune-modulating therapies. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) and bronchodilators have been the mainstay of treatment. In China as well as throughout Asia, myths and misconceptions on western medicine and corticosteroids are prevalent and result in non-adherence of treatment. A wide variety of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are available. Some of these have undergone extensive clinical trials and have been documented to have some therapeutic effects on asthma. Nevertheless, the majority of these treatment modalities is not efficacious and may even be detrimental. This article overviews the evidence for the clinical efficacy of all major CAM modalities. Despite CAM modalities are extensively used by the patients with asthma, very few CAM patents are available. This article also discusses recent patents pertinent to asthma. Only a few patents on herbal medicine for asthma have been evaluated but therapeutic efficacy is not substantially documented. Parents seeking CAM for asthma must consult qualified registered practitioners before using it.


Alternative medicine, asthma, bronchial obstruction, complementary medicine, efficacy, safety.


Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 6/F, Clinical Sciences Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong.

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