ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. —Use of herbal remedies results in poorer quality of life and increased frequency of symptoms in asthma patients, according to a study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
“Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications,” said Angkana Roy, M.D., lead author, department of pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. “These patients report worse asthma control and poorer quality of life than patients who follow medication plans. Underuse of prescribed medication is one of the main factors contributing to poor outcomes in asthma patients.”
The study tracked 326 asthma patients over a 33-month period. Of those, 25 percent reported herbal remedy use and lower adherence to use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Patients using herbal remedies were younger, more likely to have been hospitalized or intubated for asthma, have concerns about possible adverse effects of ICS and have difficulty following a medication schedule.
“Patients interested in herbal remedies need to use them to complement treatment and not as an alternative, or they will not maximize their health and may actually hinder it as this study shows,” said Leonard Bielory, M.D., ACAAI Integrative Medicine Committee chair. “Remember, asthma is a serious disease and needs to be treated that way. Always ask your allergist about medication concerns and discuss use of and herbal remedies.”