Complementary and alternative medicines and childhood eczema: A US population-based study

Jonathan I. Silverberg*, Mary Lee-Wong, Nanette B. Silverberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine(CAM) use in US children with eczema is unknown. Furthermore, it is unknown whether CAM use in the United States is associated with higher eczema prevalence. We sought to determine the eczema prevalence in association with CAM usage. We analyzed data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey that includeda nationally representative sample of 9417 children ages 0 to 17 years. Overall, 46.9% (95% confidence interval, 45.6%-48.2%) of children in the United States used 1 or more CAM, of which 0.99%(0.28%-1.71%) used CAM specifically to treat their eczema, including herbal therapy (0.46%), vitamins (0.33%), Ayurveda (0.28%), naturopathy (0.24%), homeopathy (0.20%), and traditional healing (0.12%). Several CAMs used for other purposes were associated with increased eczema prevalence, including herbal therapy (survey logistic regression; adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 2.07 [1.40-3.06]), vitamins (1.45 [1.21-1.74]), homeopathic therapy (2.94 [1.43-6.00]), movement techniques (3.66 [1.62-8.30]), and diet (2.24 [1.10-4.58]), particularly vegan diet (2.53 [1.17-5.51]). In conclusion, multiple CAMs are commonly used for the treatment of eczema in US children. However, some CAMs may actually be harmful to the skin and be associated with higher eczema prevalence in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-254
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology

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