ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
A Revealing Stain - Photo Quiz
Treating Onychomycosis - Article
ABSTRACT: Onychomycosis accounts for one third of fungal skin infections. Because only about one half of nail dystrophies are caused by fungus, the diagnosis should be confirmed by potassium hydroxide preparation, culture or histology before treatment is started. Newer, more effective antifungal agents have made treating onychomycosis easier. Terbinafine and itraconazole are the therapeutic agents of choice. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not labeled fluconazole for the treatment of onychomycosis, early efficacy data are promising. Continuous oral terbinafine therapy is most effective against dermatophytes, which are responsible for the majority of onychomycosis cases. Intermittent pulse dosing with itraconazole is as safe and effective as short-term continuous therapy but more economical and convenient. With careful monitoring, patients treated with the newer antifungal agents have a good chance of achieving relief from onychomycosis and its complications.
ABSTRACT: Although most annular lesions will be typical of a dermatophytosis, physicians must consider other possible diagnoses. Tinea corporis can often be diagnosed on the basis of a positive potassium hydroxide examination. Topical and systemic antifungals are usually curative. Pityriasis rosea is characterized by small, fawn-colored lesions distributed along skin cleavage lines. Treatment is symptomatic. Granuloma annulare is characterized by nonscaly, annular plaques with indurated borders, typically on the extremities. One half of cases resolve spontaneously within two years. Sarcoidosis can present as annular, indurated plaques similar in appearance to the lesions of granuloma annulare. Diagnosis is based on histopathology and the involvement of other organ systems. Hansen's disease can mimic tinea corporis by presenting as one or more annular, sometimes scaly, plaques. Urticaria may affect 10 to 20 percent of the population. The annular plaques lack scale and are evanescent. Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus can present in an annular form on sun-exposed surfaces or in a papulosquamous form. Erythema annulare centrifugum typically presents as annular patches with trailing scale inside erythematous borders.
Over-the-Counter Foot Remedies - Article
ABSTRACT: Several effective and inexpensive over-the-counter treatments are available for minor but troubling foot problems. In most cases, one week of therapy with topical terbinafine is effective for interdigital tinea pedis. Treatment of plantar warts with 17 percent salicylic acid with lactic acid in a collodion base is as effective as cryotherapy, but treatment must be sustained for several months. Toe sleeves and toe spacers can relieve pain from hard or soft corns. Metatarsal pads can relieve the pressure associated with plantar keratoses. Heel cups often can relieve pain caused by age-related thinning of the heel fat pad. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of anteromedial heel pain caused by repetitive strain on the plantar fascia. Although the mainstay of therapy is stretching exercises, ready-made arch supports and insoles can be helpful adjuncts.
ABSTRACT: Tinea infections are superficial fungal infections caused by three species of fungi collectively known as dermatophytes. Commonly these infections are named for the body part affected, including tinea corporis (general skin), tinea cruris (groin), and tinea pedis (feet). Accurate diagnosis is necessary for effective treatment. Diagnosis is usually based on history and clinical appearance plus direct microscopy of a potassium hydroxide preparation. Culture or histologic examination is rarely required for diagnosis. Treatment requires attention to exacerbating factors such as skin moisture and choosing an appropriate antifungal agent. Topical therapy is generally successful unless the infection covers an extensive area or is resistant to initial therapy. In these cases, systemic therapy may be required. Tinea corporis and cruris infections are usually treated for two weeks, while tinea pedis is treated for four weeks with an azole or for one to two weeks with allylamine medication. Treatment should continue for at least one week after clinical clearing of infection. Newer medications require fewer applications and a shorter duration of use. The presence of inflammation may necessitate the use of an agent with inherent anti-inflammatory properties or the use of a combination antifungal/steroid agent. The latter agents should be used with caution because of their potential for causing atrophy and other steroid-associated complications.
Overview of Histoplasmosis - Article
ABSTRACT: Histoplasmosis is an endemic infection in most of the United States and can be found worldwide. The spectrum of this illness ranges from asymptomatic infection to severe disseminated disease. Life-threatening illness is usually associated with an immunocompromised state; however, 20 percent of severe illnesses result from a heavy inoculum in healthy persons. Culture remains the gold standard for diagnosis but requires a lengthy incubation period. Fungal staining produces quicker results than culture but is less sensitive. Testing for antigen and antibodies is rapid and sensitive when used for particular disease presentations. An advantage of antigen detection is its usefulness in monitoring disease therapy. Antifungal therapy is indicated in chronic or disseminated disease and severe, acute infection. Amphotericin B is the agent of choice in severe cases; however, patients must be monitored for nephrotoxicity and hypokalemia. Itraconazole is effective in moderate disease and is well tolerated, even with long-term use. Hepatotoxicity, the most severe adverse effect of itraconazole, is uncommon and usually transient.
Dermatophyte Infections - Article
ABSTRACT: Dermatophytes are fungi that require keratin for growth. These fungi can cause superficial infections of the skin, hair, and nails. Dermatophytes are spread by direct contact from other people (anthropophilic organisms), animals (zoophilic organisms), and soil (geophilic organisms), as well as indirectly from fomites. Dermatophyte infections can be readily diagnosed based on the history, physical examination, and potassium hydroxide (KOH) microscopy. Diagnosis occasionally requires Wood's lamp examination and fungal culture or histologic examination. Topical therapy is used for most dermatophyte infections. Cure rates are higher and treatment courses are shorter with topical fungicidal allylamines than with fungistatic azoles. Oral therapy is preferred for tinea capitis, tinea barbae, and onychomycosis. Orally administered griseofulvin remains the standard treatment for tinea capitis. Topical treatment of onychomycosis with ciclopirox nail lacquer has a low cure rate. For onychomycosis, "pulse" oral therapy with the newer imidazoles (itraconazole or fluconazole) or allylamines (terbinafine) is considerably less expensive than continuous treatment but has a somewhat lower mycologic cure rate. The diagnosis of onychomycosis should be confirmed by KOH microscopy, culture, or histologic examination before therapy is initiated, because of the expense, duration, and potential adverse effects of treatment.
Common Hair Loss Disorders - Article
ABSTRACT: Hair loss (alopecia) affects men and women of all ages and often significantly affects social and psychologic well-being. Although alopecia has several causes, a careful history, dose attention to the appearance of the hair loss, and a few simple studies can quickly narrow the potential diagnoses. Androgenetic alopecia, one of the most common forms of hair loss, usually has a specific pattern of temporal-frontal loss in men and central thinning in women. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved topical minoxidil to treat men and women, with the addition of finasteride for men. Telogen effluvium is characterized by the loss of "handfuls" of hair, often following emotional or physical stressors. Alopecia areata, trichotillomania, traction alopecia, and tinea capitis have unique features on examination that aid in diagnosis. Treatment for these disorders and telogen effluvium focuses on resolution of the underlying cause.
Management of Vaginitis - Article
ABSTRACT: Common infectious forms of vaginitis include bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and trichomoniasis. Vaginitis also can occur because of atrophic changes. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by proliferation of Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and anaerobes. The diagnosis is based primarily on the Amsel criteria (milky discharge, pH greater than 4.5, positive whiff test, clue cells in a wet-mount preparation). The standard treatment is oral metronidazole in a dosage of 500 mg twice daily for seven days. Vulvovaginal candidiasis can be difficult to diagnose because characteristic signs and symptoms (thick, white discharge, dysuria, vulvovaginal pruritus and swelling) are not specific for the infection. Diagnosis should rely on microscopic examination of a sample from the lateral vaginal wall (10 to 20 percent potassium hydroxide preparation). Cultures are helpful in women with recurrent or complicated vulvovaginal candidiasis, because species other than Candida albicans (e.g., Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis) may be present. Topical azole and oral fluconazole are equally efficacious in the management of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis, but a more extensive regimen may be required for complicated infections. Trichomoniasis may cause a foul-smelling, frothy discharge and, in most affected women, vaginal inflammatory changes. Culture and DNA probe testing are useful in diagnosing the infection; examinations of wet-mount preparations have a high false-negative rate. The standard treatment for trichomoniasis is a single 2-g oral dose of metronidazole. Atrophic vaginitis results from estrogen deficiency. Treatment with topical estrogen is effective.
Acute and Chronic Paronychia - Article
ABSTRACT: Paronychia is an inflammation of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a toe or finger. Paronychia may be classified as either acute or chronic. The main factor associated with the development of acute paronychia is direct or indirect trauma to the cuticle or nail fold. This enables pathogens to inoculate the nail, resulting in infection. Treatment options for acute paronychia include warm compresses; topical antibiotics, with or without corticosteroids; oral antibiotics; or surgical incision and drainage for more severe cases. Chronic paronychia is a multifactorial inflammatory reaction of the proximal nail fold to irritants and allergens. The patient should avoid exposure to contact irritants; treatment of underlying inflammation and infection is recommended, using a combination of a broad-spectrum topical antifungal agent and a corticosteroid. Application of emollient lotions may be beneficial. Topical steroid creams are more effective than systemic antifungals in the treatment of chronic paronychia. In recalcitrant chronic paronychia, en bloc excision of the proximal nail fold is an option. Alternatively, an eponychial marsupialization, with or without nail removal, may be performed.