Items in AFP with MESH term: Adrenal Cortex Hormones
ABSTRACT: Acute low back pain with or without sciatica usually is self-limited and has no serious underlying pathology. For most patients, reassurance, pain medications, and advice to stay active are sufficient. A more thorough evaluation is required in selected patients with "red flag" findings associated with an increased risk of cauda equina syndrome, cancer, infection, or fracture. These patients also require closer follow-up and, in some cases, urgent referral to a surgeon. In patients with nonspecific mechanical low back pain, imaging can be delayed for at least four to six weeks, which usually allows the pain to improve. There is good evidence for the effectiveness of acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, skeletal muscle relaxants, heat therapy, physical therapy, and advice to stay active. Spinal manipulative therapy may provide short-term benefits compared with sham therapy but not when compared with conventional treatments. Evidence for the benefit of acupuncture is conflicting, with higher-quality trials showing no benefit. Patient education should focus on the natural history of the back pain, its overall good prognosis, and recommendations for effective treatments.
ABSTRACT: Dupuytren's disease is a progressive condition that causes the fibrous tissue of the palmar fascia to shorten and thicken. The disease is common in men older than 40 years; in persons of Northern European descent; and in persons who smoke, use alcohol, or have diabetes. Patients present with a small, pitted nodule (or multiple nodules) on the palm, which slowly progresses to contracture of the fingers. The disease initially can be managed with observation and nonsurgical therapy. It will regress without treatment in approximately 10 percent of patients. Steroid injection into the nodule has been shown to reduce the need for surgery. Surgical referral should be made when metacarpophalangeal joint contracture reaches 30 degrees or when proximal interphalangeal joint contracture occurs at any degree. Timing of surgical intervention varies, but surgery is usually performed when the metacarpophalangeal joint contracture exceeds 40 degrees or when the proximal interphalangeal joint contracture exceeds 20 degrees. In-office percutaneous needle aponeurotomy is an alternative to surgery.
ABSTRACT: Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease with recurrent symptoms and significant morbidity. The precise etiology is still unknown. As many as 25 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis have extraintestinal manifestations. The diagnosis is made endoscopically. Tests such as perinuclear antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies are promising, but not yet recommended for routine use. Treatment is based on the extent and severity of the disease. Rectal therapy with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds is used for proctitis. More extensive disease requires treatment with oral 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds and oral corticosteroids. The side effects of steroids limit their usefulness for chronic therapy. Patients who do not respond to treatment with oral corticosteroids require hospitalization and intravenous steroids. Refractory symptoms may be treated with azathioprine or infliximab. Surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis is reserved for patients who fail medical therapy or who develop severe hemorrhage, perforation, or cancer. Longstanding ulcerative colitis is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Patients should receive an initial screening colonoscopy eight years after the onset of pancolitis and 12 to 15 years after the onset of left-sided disease; follow-up colonoscopy should be repeated every two to three years.
A Different Look at Corticosteroids - Article
ABSTRACT: Systemic corticosteroids have been used in the treatment of numerous medical conditions for approximately 50 years. Short-acting products such as hydrocortisone are the least potent. Prednisone and methylprednisolone, which are intermediate-acting products, are four to five times more potent than hydrocortisone. Dexamethasone is a long-acting, systemic corticosteroid; its potency is about 25 times greater than the short-acting products. Corticosteroids reduce the need for hospitalization in patients with croup and decrease morbidity and the incidence of respiratory failure in the treatment of patients with AIDS who have Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Other often overlooked indications for corticosteroids are the treatment of hyperthyroid states, including thyroid storm, subacute thyroiditis and ophthalmopathy of Graves' disease. Systemic steroids can be used as adjuvant analgesics in the treatment of neuropathic and cancer-related pain. They may also decrease mortality in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis and concomitant encephalopathy. Corticosteroids can reduce complications in patients with meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae or Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis is a common, potentially debilitating condition that can compromise quality of life. Its most frequent symptom is pruritus. Attempts to relieve the itch by scratching simply worsen the rash, creating a vicious circle. Treatment should be directed at limiting itching, repairing the skin and decreasing inflammation when necessary. Lubricants, antihistamines and topical corticosteroids are the mainstays of therapy. When required, oral corticosteroids can be used. If pruritus does not respond to treatment, other diagnoses, such as bacterial overgrowth or viral infections, should be considered. Treatment options are available for refractory atopic dermatitis, but these measures should be reserved for use in unique situations and typically require consultation with a dermatologist or an allergist.
ABSTRACT: Psoriasis is characterized by red, thickened plaques with a silvery scale. The lesions vary in size and degree of inflammation. Psoriasis is categorized as localized or generalized, based on the severity of the disease and its overall impact on the patient's quality of life and well-being. Patient education about the disease and the treatment options is important. Medical treatment for localized psoriasis begins with a combination of topical corticosteroids and coal tar or calcipotriene. For lesions that are difficult to control with initial therapy, anthralin or tazarotene may be tried. The primary goal of therapy is to maintain control of the lesions. Cure is seldom achieved. If control becomes difficult or if psoriasis is generalized, the patient may benefit from phototherapy, systemic therapy and referral to a physician who specializes in the treatment of psoriasis.
ABSTRACT: Injections are valuable procedures for managing musculoskeletal conditions commonly encountered by family physicians. Corticosteroid injections into articular, periarticular, or soft tissue structures relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility. Injections can provide diagnostic information and are commonly used for postoperative pain control. Local anesthetics may be injected with corticosteroids to provide additional, rapid pain relief. Steroid injection is the preferred and definitive treatment for de Quervain tenosynovitis and trochanteric bursitis. Steroid injections can also be helpful in controlling pain during physical rehabilitation from rotator cuff syndrome and lateral epicondylitis. Intra-articular steroid injection provides pain relief in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. There is little systematic evidence to guide medication selection for therapeutic injections. The medication used and the frequency of injection should be guided by the goal of the injection (i.e., diagnostic or therapeutic), the underlying musculoskeletal diagnosis, and clinical experience. Complications from steroid injections are rare, but physicians should understand the potential risks and counsel patients appropriately. Patients with diabetes who receive periarticular or soft tissue steroid injections should closely monitor their blood glucose for two weeks following injection.
Use of Inhaled Corticosteroids to Treat Stable COPD - Cochrane for Clinicians
Choosing Topical Corticosteroids - Article
ABSTRACT: Topical corticosteroids are one of the oldest and most useful treatments for dermatologic conditions. There are many topical steroids available, and they differ in potency and formulation. Successful treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis and consideration of the steroid's delivery vehicle, potency, frequency of application, duration of treatment, and side effects. Although use of topical steroids is common, evidence of effectiveness exists only for select conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, atopic dermatitis, phimosis, acute radiation dermatitis, and lichen sclerosus. Evidence is limited for use in melasma, chronic idiopathic urticaria, and alopecia areata.
ABSTRACT: There are few studies comparing the outcomes of patients who are treated with oral versus intramuscular antibiotics, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or vitamin B12. This may lead to confusion about when the intramuscular route is indicated. For example, intramuscular ceftriaxone for Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection and intramuscular penicillin G benzathine for Treponema pallidum infection are the treatments of choice. However, oral antibiotics are the treatment of choice for the outpatient treatment of pneumonia and most other outpatient bacterial infections. Oral corticosteroids are as effective as intramuscular corticosteroids and are well-tolerated by most patients. High daily doses of oral vitamin B12 with ongoing clinical surveillance appear to be as effective as intramuscular treatment. Few data support choosing intramuscular ketorolac over an oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug unless the patient is unable to tolerate an oral medication. For other indications, the intramuscular route should be considered only when the delivery of a medication must be confirmed, such as when a patient cannot tolerate an oral medication, or when compliance is uncertain.