Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a popular alternative to opioid and other analgesics in sickle cell disease (SCD). We review the effectiveness, prevalence, and factors associated with CAM use in the pediatric SCD population.
The review protocol was created based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A literature search was conducted in MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Web of Science.
Twenty-four studies were examined. The prevalence of CAM use in pediatric patients with SCD ranged from 36 to 84.5%. Common inpatient CAM interventions were yoga, virtual reality, and acupuncture, which decreased pain scale scores. Outpatient CAMs were consisted of cognitive behavioral therapy, massage therapy, and guided-imagery, which increased pain tolerability and decreased pain scale scores.
CAM modalities can decrease pain scale scores. However, the impact of specific CAM modalities on emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and school absences were inconclusive.

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