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Use of herbal medicine in epileptic children

Korean Journal of Pediatrics 2008;51(4):415-419.
Published online April 15, 2008.
Use of herbal medicine in epileptic children
Jee Yeon Lee1, Wook Sun Choi2, So-Hee Eun2, Baik-Lin Eun2, Young Sook Hong2, Joo Won Lee2
1Department of Pediatrics, Kwangmyung-Sungae Hospital, Kwangmyung, Korea
2Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
소아 간질 환자에서 한약 복용 실태
이지연1, 최욱선2, 은소희2, 은백린2, 홍영숙2, 이주원2
1광명성애병원 소아청소년과
2고려대학교 의과대학 소아과학교실
Correspondence: 
Baik-Lin Eun, Email: bleun@korea.ac.kr, bleun@chollian.net
Abstract
Purpose
: Herbal medicine is thought to be widely used by children with epilepsy, but there have been few studies. This study aimed to investigate the perceptions and the actual conditions of usage of herbal medicine by children with epilepsy.
Methods
: From July to August 2007, three hundred seventy eight questionnaires were completed by parents of epileptic children who visited pediatric neurology clinic of Korea University hospital and Kwangmyung-Sungae hospital. Demographic data and patterns of usage of herbal medicine were investigated.
Results
: Among 378 patients, sixty five (17.2%) reported using herbal medicine. Major reasons for using herbal medicine were 'to enhance general health' and 'belief that it has fewer side effects'. Majority of respondents did not notify their physician about using herbal medicine because 'they did not need to share this with doctor' and 'they thought their doctor would disapprove'. After taking herbal medicine, 33.3% of patients reported that it did not benefit their seizure but they felt healthier. Usage of herbal medicine was significantly related to number of AEDs (antiepileptic drugs), duration of AED treatment, association with psychosomatic disorders and motivation by other people or by mass media.
Conclusion
: Considerable numbers of epileptic children were using herbal medicine during treatment with AED and did not inform their physician about usage of it. Physicians should be aware of benefits and harms of herbal medicine and actively intervene in the usage of herbal medicine by epileptic patients.
Key Words: Herbal medicine, Epilepsy, Child


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