Herbal and homeopathic medication use in pediatric surgical patients

Lucinda L. Everett*, Patrick K Birmingham, Glyn D. Williams, B. Randall Brenn, Jay H. Shapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background: Patients who present for surgery may be using herbal or homeopathic preparations; adverse effects of some of these substances include bleeding, cardiovascular changes, and liver dysfunction. Little information is available on the frequency of use in the pediatric surgical population. Methods: With institutional approval, a survey was conducted to assess the use of vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal or homeopathic preparations in children presenting for surgery in five geographically diverse centers in the USA. Results: A total of 894 completed surveys showed that overall, 3.5% of pediatric surgical patients had been given herbal or homeopathic medications in the 2 weeks prior to surgery. Most substances were prescribed by parents. The use of ihese medications did not differ between children with coexisting diseases and those without; use was also not different among ethnic groups or by residence setting (city, suburban, rural). There was a significant difference between the west coast centers in the study compared with the rest of the country (7.5% of patients in Palo Alto, CA; 5.5% of patients in Seattle, WA; 1.5% of patients in Chicago, IL; and 1.9% in Virginia and Delaware used herbal or homeopathic remedies). The most prevalent substance given to children presenting for elective surgery was Echinacea. Conclusions: Herbal and homeopathic medications are used by a small percentage of pediatric patients presenting for elective pediatric surgery patients. Use of these substances should be addressed in the preoperative history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 24 2005



  • Anesthesia
  • Complications
  • Medication: herbal, Homeopathic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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