Karen M. Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the University of Rochester conducted the first national survey of CAM use among adolescents in the United States. They analyzed responses from 1,280 adolescents aged 14 to 19 and found that 79 percent had used at least one form of CAM during their lifetime. Females used CAM more than males. The forms of CAM most commonly used were home remedies (such as honey and lemon, or special teas), faith healing or prayer specifically for health, herbal remedies (such as echinacea or St. John’s wort), and massage therapy. Among all participants, almost 30 percent had used one or more dietary supplements, and almost 10 percent had used supplements along with prescription medications in the preceding month. Many of the supplements the teens reported using were related to attempts to change body shape (e.g., creatine and weight-loss products).
The authors urged that health care providers be aware of CAM and dietary supplement use by their adolescent patients, because of the lack of standardization in supplements, as well as their potential for safety risks and interactions with prescription medications.