Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.
Dr. Cora Breuner gave a talk on complementary and alternative practices in pediatrics. She talked to Doximity about some of her herb and supplement recommendations.
Cora Breuner, MD: The most common herbs and supplements that are used are fish oils and other supplements which include vitamins, echinacea, melatonin and butterbur. Issues that they’re being used — are back pain, colds, other musculoskeletal injuries, anxiety, ADHD or insomnia. As young as infancy, all the way up into the 18 year old group people are using herbal supplements for their children. The things that seem to be the most effective of the top ones, that are used, include things like fish oil and omega-3 oils and this is used mostly — we see efficacy for kids who have anxiety or depression.
Basically, the side effects that I see occur when someone is combining a medication that’s prescribed with a supplement they’re using.
And what products do I actually initiate? It depends on that on the symptom for example someone with chronic abdominal pain I’d be more likely to recommend peppermint. For those who have headaches, I recommend something called butterbur or magnesium or even riboflavin as something to not stop a headache but actually prevent a headache from occurring.
The products are coming to the shelves without being regulated by the FDA, so there could be toxicities especially for different products that are made in other countries. They could have heavy metals in them — they could be contaminated with actual medications.
Products should have an expiration date on them and also very importantly, if a product is submitted to something called consumer lab that means their product is being tested for contamination and consistent packaging and consistent product in all of the batches of the herb or supplement that’s being manufactured.