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ABSTRACT: Herpes zoster (commonly referred to as "shingles") and postherpetic neuralgia result from reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus acquired during the primary varicella infection, or chickenpox. Whereas varicella is generally a disease of childhood, herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia become more common with increasing age. Factors that decrease immune function, such as human immunodeficiency virus infection, chemotherapy, malignancies and chronic corticosteroid use, may also increase the risk of developing herpes zoster. Reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus from dorsal root ganglia is responsible for the classic dermatomal rash and pain that occur with herpes zoster. Burning pain typically precedes the rash by several days and can persist for several months after the rash resolves. With postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of herpes zoster, pain may persist well after resolution of the rash and can be highly debilitating. Herpes zoster is usually treated with orally administered acyclovir. Other antiviral medications include famciclovir and valacyclovir. The antiviral medications are most effective when started within 72 hours after the onset of the rash. The addition of an orally administered corticosteroid can provide modest benefits in reducing the pain of herpes zoster and the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia. Ocular involvement in herpes zoster can lead to rare but serious complications and generally merits referral to an ophthalmologist. Patients with postherpetic neuralgia may require narcotics for adequate pain control. Tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants, often given in low dosages, may help to control neuropathic pain. Capsaicin, lidocaine patches and nerve blocks can also be used in selected patients.
More Than Just a Comet... - Photo Quiz
Adhesive Capsulitis: A Review - Article
ABSTRACT: Adhesive capsulitis is a common, yet poorly understood, condition causing pain and loss of range of motion in the shoulder. It can occur in isolation or concomitantly with other shoulder conditions (e.g., rotator cuff tendinopathy, bursitis) or diabetes mellitus. It is often self-limited, but can persist for years and may never fully resolve. The diagnosis is usually clinical, although imaging can help rule out other conditions. The differential diagnosis includes acromioclavicular arthropathy, autoimmune disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis), biceps tendinopathy, glenohumeral osteoarthritis, neoplasm, rotator cuff tendinopathy or tear (with or without impingement), and subacromial and subdeltoid bursitis. Several treatment options are commonly used, but few have high-level evidence to support them. Because the condition is often self-limited, observation and reassurance may be considered; however, this may not be acceptable to many patients because of the painful and debilitating nature of the condition. Nonsurgical treatments include analgesics (e.g., acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), oral prednisone, and intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Home exercise regimens and physical therapy are often prescribed. Surgical treatments include manipulation of the joint under anesthesia and capsular release.
ABSTRACT: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract at any point from the mouth to the rectum. Patients may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, abdominal masses, and anemia. Extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s disease include osteoporosis, inflammatory arthropathies, scleritis, nephrolithiasis, cholelithiasis, and erythema nodosum. Acute phase reactants, such as C-reactive protein level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, are often increased with inflammation and may correlate with disease activity. Levels of vitamin B12, folate, albumin, prealbumin, and vitamin D can help assess nutritional status. Colonoscopy with ileoscopy, capsule endoscopy, computed tomography enterography, and small bowel follow-through are often used to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Ultrasonography, computed axial tomography, scintigraphy, and magnetic resonance imaging can assess for extraintestinal manifestations or complications (e.g., abscess, perforation). Mesalamine products are often used for the medical management of mild to moderate colonic Crohn’s disease. Antibiotics (e.g., metronidazole, fluoroquinolones) are often used for treatment. Patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease are treated with corticosteroids, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, or anti–tumor necrosis factor agents (e.g., infliximab, adalimumab). Severe disease may require emergent hospitalization and a multidisciplinary approach with a family physician, gastroenterologist, and surgeon.
ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus infection and syphilis are the most common causes of genital ulcers in the United States. Other infectious causes include chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma inguinale (donovanosis), secondary bacterial infections, and fungi. Noninfectious etiologies, including sexual trauma, psoriasis, Behçet syndrome, and fixed drug eruptions, can also lead to genital ulcers. Although initial treatment of genital ulcers is generally based on clinical presentation, the following tests should be considered in all patients: serologic tests for syphilis and darkfield microscopy or direct fluorescent antibody testing for Treponema pallidum, culture or polymerase chain reaction test for herpes simplex virus, and culture for Haemophilus ducreyi in settings with a high prevalence of chancroid. No pathogen is identified in up to 25 percent of patients with genital ulcers. The first episode of herpes simplex virus infection is usually treated with seven to 10 days of oral acyclovir (five days for recurrent episodes). Famciclovir and valacyclovir are alternative therapies. One dose of intramuscular penicillin G benzathine is recommended to treat genital ulcers caused by primary syphilis. Treatment options for chancroid include a single dose of intramuscular ceftriaxone or oral azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, or erythromycin. Lymphogranuloma venereum and donovanosis are treated with 21 days of oral doxycycline. Treatment of noninfectious causes of genital ulcers varies by etiology, and ranges from topical wound care for ulcers caused by sexual trauma to consideration of subcutaneous pegylated interferon alfa-2a for ulcers caused by Behçet syndrome.
Management of Chronic Tendon Injuries - Article
ABSTRACT: Chronic tendon injuries present unique management challenges. The assumption that these injuries result from ongoing inflammation has caused physicians to rely on treatments demonstrated to be ineffective in the long term. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be limited in the treatment of these injuries. Corticosteroid injections should be considered for temporizing pain relief only for rotator cuff tendinopathy. For chronic Achilles tendinopathy (symptoms lasting longer than six weeks), an intense eccentric strengthening program of the gastrocnemius/ soleus complex improved pain and function between 60 and 90 percent in randomized trials. Evidence also supports eccentric exercise as a first-line option for chronic patellar tendon injuries. Other modalities such as prolotherapy, topical nitroglycerin, iontophoresis, phonophoresis, therapeutic ultrasound, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and low-level laser therapy have less evidence of effectiveness but are reasonable second-line alternatives to surgery for patients who have persistent pain despite appropriate rehabilitative exercise.