The plight of a four-year-old boy who virtually died after his parents devoted him 12 alternative medications has prompted physicians to warn against the treatments.
Doctors at Newham Hospital in east London said the mothers were “devastated” that their good intents had built him so unwell.
The boy took a dozen supplements supposedly to help treat his autism.
The National Autistic Society said it was crucial for doctors to talk through threats to alternative therapies.
The boy developed a potentially fatal condition after taking supplements from a naturopath( natural health practitioner) for a number of months, which included vitamin D, camel’s milk, silver and Epsom bath salts.
He was admitted to A& E after losing 6.5 lbs( 3kg) over three weeks, suffering from symptoms including vomiting and extreme thirst.
Dr Catriona Boyd and Dr Abdul Moodambail, writing in the British Medical Journal Case Reports , said it was not until the son had been at Newham Hospital, which is part of St Bart’s Health Trust, for several days that his mother told them about the holistic supplements.
Dr Moodambail told the BBC: “This happens on many occasions with other patients as well.
“Often the mothers believing that these supplements are natural, safe and do not cause any side effects or adverse effects, but this is not true in many cases like this.”
He added: “The situation was stark because the child developed vitamin D toxicity leading to very high calcium levels, constructing their own children quite unwell and this can even be fatal as well.”
The boy made a full recovery in two weeks after being treated with hyperhydration and drugs to reduce his calcium level.
What are complementary and alternative therapies?
Complementary and alternative medications( CAMs) are therapies that fall outside of mainstream healthcare Generally when a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered “complementary” When a non-mainstream practice is used instead of conventional medication, it is considered “alternative” Examples of CAMS include homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and herbal medications Some complementary and alternative medications or therapies are based on principles and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists Others have been proven to work for a limited number of health conditions, such as osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture for treating lower back pain When a person utilizes any health treatment – including a CAM – and experiences an improvement, this may be due to the placebo consequence Osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated in the same style as mainstream medical professionals There is no statutory professional regulation of any other CAM practitioners