Inside AFP

Introducing Two New Departments: Clinical Inquiries and STEPS



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Am Fam Physician. 2003 Dec 15;68(12):2305.

In this issue, you'll see examples of AFP's newest departments, “Clinical Inquiries from the Family Practice Inquiries Network” (page 2437) and “STEPS” (page 2429). Editorials on pages 2340 and 2342 provide background on these two features.

“Clinical Inquiries” launches in this issue with a piece that answers the question: “Is fluoxetine an effective therapy for weight loss in obese patients?” The author and series coordinator, John Epling, M.D., State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, writes the evidence-based answer to the question and provides an evidence summary, including a rating of the strength of evidence, a summary of recommendations from others, and a clinical commentary.

Dr. Epling is associate editor for the Family Practice Inquiries Network (FPIN), which is supplying “Clinical Inquiries” to AFP. FPIN collects questions submitted by practicing family physicians, and members of the network select questions to answer based on their relevance to family medicine. The answers are drawn from an approved set of evidence-based resources (see page 2342 for a table listing approved databases), and the answers go through peer review. The strength of recommendations and the level of evidence for individual studies are rated using criteria developed by the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group (http://www.cebm.net/levels_of_evidence.asp).

FPIN is a not-for-profit consortium of academic family medicine residency programs, practicing family physicians, medical librarians, and other professionals. For more information about “Clinical Inquiries” and FPIN, see the editorial on page 2340 by John Epling, M.D., Bernard Ewigman, M.D., M.S.P.H., and Mark H. Ebell, M.D. Dr. Ewigman is editor-in-chief for FPIN and chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The first of the “STEPS” pieces appeared in the October 15, 2003, issue of AFP. This series of short updates on new drugs is named for its focus: each update provides concise information about the drug's Safety, Tolerability, Efficacy, Price and Simplicity. The series is coordinated by Allen Shaughnessy, Pharm.D., director of medical education at Pinnacle Health System, Harrisburg, Pa. Dr. Shaughnessy, who also coordinates AFP's “Clinical Pharmacology” series, provides additional background on the STEPS series in the editorial on page 2342.

This issue features a “STEPS” update on adefovir (Hepsera), which is the third agent approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection, along with interferon alfa–2b and lamivudine (page 2429).


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