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Herbal Remedies Linked to Asthma Medicine Adherence

Last Updated: February 04, 2010.

Inner-city asthma patients who use herbal remedies are less likely to take their asthma medication, possibly due to concerns about adverse effects, according to a study in the February issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

THURSDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Inner-city asthma patients who use herbal remedies are less likely to take their asthma medication, possibly due to concerns about adverse effects, according to a study in the February issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Angkana Roy, M.D., from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues surveyed 326 inner-city adults with persistent asthma regarding their use of complementary and alternative medicines (teas, herbs, and rubs) to treat asthma in the past six months and their self-reported adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).

The researchers found that 25.4 percent of patients reported using herbal remedies. After adjusting for possible confounding variables, adherence to ICS was found to be lower in patients who used herbal remedies (31.7 versus 47.4 percent; odds ratio, 0.4). Patients who were concerned about the adverse effects of ICS were more likely to use herbal remedies.

"The use of herbal remedies was associated with lower adherence to ICS and worse outcomes among inner-city asthmatic patients," Roy and colleagues conclude. "Physicians should routinely ask patients with asthma about complementary and alternative medicine use, especially those whose asthma is poorly controlled."

One author is a 45 percent owner of Herbal Springs, L.L.C., and another author received a research grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

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