Research: JESCHKE and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 209

Abstract

JESCHKE and COLLEAGUES, Havelhoehe Research Institute, Berlin, Germany. ejeschke@havelhoehe.de conducted a study to provide a systematic overview of everyday anthroposophic medical practice in primary care for children.

Background

Although the treatment of children has been a core domain of anthroposophic medicine since its inception, a systematic analysis of anthroposophic therapies in pediatric primary care is still lacking. This study describes the spectrum of diagnoses and therapies observed in children treated in everyday anthroposophic practice.

Methodology

Thirty-eight primary care physicians in Germany participated in this prospective, multicenter observational study on prescribing patterns. Prescriptions and diagnoses were reported for each consecutive patient. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with anthroposophic prescriptions.

Results

In 2005, a total of 57,893 prescriptions for 18,440 children under 12 years of age (48.1% female) were issued. In total, 50.3% of the prescriptions were classified as CAM remedies alone, 22.6% as conventional pharmaceuticals alone, and 27.1% as a combination of both. Anthroposophic remedies accounted for 41.8% of all medications prescribed. The odds ratio (OR) for receiving an anthroposophic remedy was significantly higher for the first consultation (OR= 1.19; confidence interval [CI]: 1.16-1.23). Anthroposophic remedies were prescribed most frequently for disorders of the conjunctiva (OR = 2.47; CI: 2.27-2.70), otitis media (OR = 1.50; CI: 1.43-1.59), acute upper respiratory tract infections (OR= 1.28; CI: 1.23-1.33), other respiratory diseases (OR= 1.15; CI: 1.07-1.24), digestive system and abdominal symptoms (OR= 1.39; CI: 1.28-1.51), general symptoms and signs (OR= 1.25; CI: 1.16-1.36), .and pneumonia (OR= 1.36; CI: 1.25-1.49). The likelihood of being prescribed an anthroposophic remedy decreased with patient age (OR= 0.96; CI: 0.95-0.96) and was lower in patients treated by a paediatrician (OR= 0.43; CI: 0.42-0.44). Of the 2475 therapeutic procedures prescribed (29% anthroposophic), the most frequent were physiotherapy, speech therapy, ergotherapy, and logopedics.

Conclusion

The present study is the first to provide a systematic overview of everyday anthroposophic medical practice in primary care for children. The findings show that practitioners of anthroposophic medicine take an integrative approach by combining conventional and anthroposophic treatments.

References

Jeschke E, Ostermann T, Tabali M, Kroz M, Bockelbrink A, Witt CM, Willich SN and Matthes H. Anthroposophic medicine in pediatric primary care: a prospective, multicenter observational study on prescribing patterns. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine. 17(2): 18-28. Mar-Apr 2011.

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