Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms

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Management of Genital Warts - Article

ABSTRACT: Genital warts caused by human papillomavirus infection are encountered commonly in primary care. Evidence guiding treatment selection is limited, but treatment guidelines recently have changed. Biopsy, viral typing, acetowhite staining, and other diagnostic measures are not routinely required. The goal of treatment is clearance of visible warts; some evidence exists that treatment reduces infectivity, but there is no evidence that treatment reduces the incidence of cervical and genital cancer. The choice of therapy is based on the number, size, site, and morphology of lesions, as well as patient preferences, cost, convenience, adverse effects, and clinician experience. Patient-applied therapy such as imiquimod cream or podofilox is increasingly recommended. Podofilox, imiquimod, surgical excision, and cryotherapy are the most convenient and effective options. Fluorouracil and interferon are no longer recommended for routine use. The cost per successful treatment course is approximately dollars 200 to dollars 300 for podofilox, cryotherapy, electrodesiccation, surgical excision, laser treatment, and the loop electrosurgical excision procedure.


Evaluation of the Patient with Chronic Cough - Article

ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic cough should avoid exposure to irritants that can trigger cough, and those who smoke should stop smoking. Patients who develop chronic cough in association with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy should be switched to an agent from another drug class. If cough persists, a chest radiograph should be ordered to rule out malignancy and other serious conditions. Postnasal drip syndrome, asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease are the most likely causes of chronic cough in adults. If postnasal drip syndrome is suspected, a trial of a decongestant and a first-generation antihistamine is warranted. Pulmonary function testing with a methacholine challenge is the preferred test for confirming the diagnosis of asthma. Gastroesophageal reflux disease usually is diagnosed based on the symptoms and after a trial of therapy. If the cause of chronic cough remains unclear, high-resolution computed tomographic scanning of the chest, bronchoscopy, and referral to a pulmonary specialist may be indicated. The approach to diagnosing chronic cough in immunocompromised patients and children is similar to the approach in immunocompetent adults. However, a CD4+ cell count can help determine the potential for opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients. Respiratory tract infections, asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease are the most common causes of chronic cough in children. Foreign body aspiration should be considered in young children. Congenital conditions, cystic fibrosis, and immune disorders are possible diagnoses in children with chronic cough and recurrent infection.


Mildly Elevated Liver Transaminase Levels in the Asymptomatic Patient - Article

ABSTRACT: Mild elevations in liver chemistry tests such as alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase can reveal serious underlying conditions or have transient and benign etiologies. Potential causes of liver transaminase elevations include viral hepatitis, alcohol use, medication use, steatosis or steatohepatitis, and cirrhosis. The history should be thorough, with special attention given to the use of medications, vitamins, herbs, drugs, and alcohol; family history; and any history of blood-product transfusions. Other common health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disease, can cause or augment liver transaminase elevations. The recent American Gastroenterological Association guideline regarding the evaluation and management of abnormal liver chemistry tests proposes a practical, algorithmic approach when the history and physical examination do not reveal the cause. In addition to liver chemistries, an initial serologic evaluation includes a prothrombin time; albumin; complete blood count with platelets; hepatitis A, B, and C serologies; and iron studies. Depending on the etiology, management strategies may include cessation of alcohol use, attention to medications, control of diabetes, and modification of lifestyle factors such as obesity. If elevations persist after an appropriate period of observation, further testing may include ultrasonography and other serum studies. In some cases, biopsy may be indicated.


Subclinical Thyroid Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Subclinical thyroid dysfunction is defined as an abnormal serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level (reference range: 0.45 to 4.50 microU per mL) and free thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels within their reference ranges. The management of subclinical thyroid dysfunction is controversial. The prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism is about 4 to 8.5 percent, and may be as high as 20 percent in women older than 60 years. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is found in approximately 2 percent of the population. Most national organizations recommend against routine screening of asymptomatic patients, but screening is recommended for high-risk populations. There is good evidence that subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with progression to overt disease. Patients with a serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level greater than 10 microU per mL have a higher incidence of elevated serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations; however, evidence is lacking for other associations. There is insufficient evidence that treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is beneficial. A serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level of less than 0.1 microU per mL is associated with progression to overt hyperthyroidism, atrial fibrillation, reduced bone mineral density, and cardiac dysfunction. There is little evidence that early treatment alters the clinical course.


Prevention and Treatment of Overweight in Children and Adolescents - Article

ABSTRACT: Overweight in childhood and adolescence is an important public health issue because of its rapidly increasing prevalence and associated adverse medical and social consequences. Recent studies have estimated that 15 percent of children in the United States are at risk for overweight, and an additional 15 percent are overweight. Important predictors of overweight include age, sex, race/ethnicity, and parental weight status. Generally, school-based prevention programs are not successful in reducing the prevalence of obesity. Treatment interventions include behavioral therapy, reduction in sedentary behavior, and nutrition and physical activity education. These interventions are moderately successful but may not be generalized to the primary care setting. Family physicians should focus on identifying at-risk and overweight children and adolescents at an early stage and educating families about the health consequences of being overweight. Interventions should be tailored to the patient and involve the entire family.


Vasomotor Rhinitis - Article

ABSTRACT: Vasomotor rhinitis affects millions of Americans and results in significant symptomatology. Characterized by a combination of symptoms that includes nasal obstruction and rhinorrhea, vasomotor rhinitis is a diagnosis of exclusion reached after taking a careful history, performing a physical examination, and, in select cases, testing the patient with known allergens. According to a 2002 evidence report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), there is insufficient evidence to reliably differentiate between allergic and nonallergic rhinitis based on signs and symptoms alone. The minimum level of diagnostic testing needed to differentiate between the two types of rhinitis also has not been established. An algorithm is presented that is based on a targeted history and physical examination and a stepwise approach to management that reflects the AHRQ evidence report and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals. Specific approaches to the management of rhinitis in children, athletes, pregnant women, and older adults are discussed.


Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea - Article

ABSTRACT: Clostridium difficile infection is responsible for approximately 3 million cases of diarrhea and colitis annually in the United States. The mortality rate is 1 to 2.5 percent. Early diagnosis and prompt aggressive treatment are critical in managing C. difficile-associated diarrhea. Major predisposing factors for symptomatic C. difficile colitis include antibiotic therapy; advanced age; multiple, severe underlying diseases; and a faulty immune response to C. difficile toxins. The most common confirmatory study is an enzyme immunoassay for C. difficile toxins A and B. The test is easy to perform, and results are available in two to four hours. Specificity of the assay is high (93 to 100 percent), but sensitivity ranges from 63 to 99 percent. In severe cases, flexible sigmoidoscopy can provide an immediate diagnosis. Treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea includes discontinuation of the precipitating antibiotic (if possible) and the administration of metronidazole or vancomycin. Preventive measures include the judicious use of antibiotics, thorough hand washing between patient contacts, use of precautions when handling an infected patient or items in the patient's immediate environment, proper disinfection of objects, education of staff members, and isolation of the patient.


Selecting Medications for the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence - Article

ABSTRACT: In response to the growing population of older patients with incontinence, pharmaceutical companies are developing new drugs to treat the condition. Before prescribing medications for incontinence, however, physicians should determine the nature and cause of the patient's incontinence. The evaluation should rule out reversible conditions, conditions requiring special evaluation, and overflow bladder. The best treatment for urge incontinence is behavior therapy in the form of pelvic floor muscle exercises. Medications, used as an adjunct to behavior therapy, can provide additional benefit. Many therapies are available for patients with stress incontinence, including pelvic floor muscle exercise, surgery, intravaginal support devices, pessaries, peri-urethral injections, magnetic chairs, and intraurethral inserts. No medication has been approved for the treatment of stress incontinence, although medications are under development.


Diagnosis and Management of Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections - Article

ABSTRACT: Most uncomplicated urinary tract infections occur in women who are sexually active, with far fewer cases occurring in older women, those who are pregnant, and in men. Although the incidence of urinary tract infection has not changed substantially over the last 10 years, the diagnostic criteria, bacterial resistance patterns, and recommended treatment have changed. Escherichia coli is the leading cause of urinary tract infections, followed by Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole has been the standard therapy for urinary tract infection; however, E. coli is becoming increasingly resistant to medications. Many experts support using ciprofloxacin as an alternative and, in some cases, as the preferred first-line agent. However, others caution that widespread use of ciprofloxacin will promote increased resistance.


Oral Analgesics for Acute Nonspecific Pain - Article

ABSTRACT: Physicians most often recommend or prescribe oral medication for relief of acute pain. This review of the available evidence supports the use of acetaminophen in doses up to 1,000 mg as the initial choice for mild to moderate acute pain. In some cases, modest improvements in analgesic efficacy can be achieved by adding or changing to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The safest NSAID is ibuprofen in doses of 400 mg. Higher doses may offer somewhat greater analgesia but with more adverse effects. Other NSAIDs have failed to demonstrate consistently greater efficacy or safety than ibuprofen. Although they may be more expensive, these alternatives may be chosen for their more convenient dosing. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors provide equivalent efficacy to traditional NSAIDs but lack a demonstrable safety advantage for the treatment of acute pain. For more severe acute pain, the evidence supports the addition of oral narcotic medications such as hydrocodone, morphine, or oxycodone. Specific oral analgesics that have shown poor efficacy and side effects include codeine, propoxyphene, and tramadol.


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