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Original Article


The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Patients With Common Variable Immunodeficiency


Y Karali,1 H Saglam,2 Z Karali,1 SS Kilic1

1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Immunology, Uludag University Medical Faculty, Bursa, Turkey
2Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Uludag University Medical Faculty, Bursa, Turkey

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2011; Vol. 21(6): 480-483



Objectives: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage is a reality in patients with chronic diseases, but there are no data on CAM usage in immunodeficiency diseases necessitating intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of CAM usage in patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID).

Methods: Forty-three patients (29 boys and 14 girls) with CVID and receiving IVIG every 3 weeks were included. Data were collected through a questionnaire completed by the parents. Those using treatments other than their medical therapies that were defi ned as CAM by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine were classifi ed as CAM users.

Results: The mean (SD) age at diagnosis was 7.56 (9.44) years (range, 6 months to 44 years) and the mean IVIG treatment duration was 6.02 (3.84) years (range, 1 to 20 years). Thirty-six (83.7%) of the 43 patients analyzed had used at least 1 CAM approach. The most common modalities were herbal medicines (65.1%), dietary supplements (62.8%), vitamins (46.5%), and religion (34.9%). Only 11% of those interviewed had informed their doctor that they were using CAM. The most common reason for CAM usage was the desire to improve body resistance. Eighteen parents (50%) claimed that their children had benefited from CAM.

Conclusion: Our findings reveal that there is a remarkably high tendency to use CAM in patients with CVID. Although no side effects were reported by the families, potential drug interactions should be considered.

Key words: Complementary and alternative medicine. Common variable immunodeficiency. Immunodeficiency.