Items in AFP with MESH term: Asthma
ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy has been used for over 80 years. It is a safe and effective therapeutic intervention for allergic rhinitis, but its use in the treatment of asthma is more controversial. Patients with unstable asthma are at increased risk of adverse effects from immunotherapy; therefore, if immunotherapy is used in such patients, it should be instituted cautiously. Indications for immunotherapy include evidence of IgE-mediated disease and positive results on skin tests or radioallergosorbent test (RAST). In addition, before immunotherapy is considered, measures to avoid exposure to offending agents and drug therapy should have failed to provide relief of symptoms. Before administering immunotherapy in the office, physicians should be knowledgeable about the use of immunotherapy and the treatment of anaphylaxis, and should have ready access to the equipment needed to avert anaphylaxis.
ABSTRACT: Asthma, a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, may be classified as mild intermittent or mild, moderate, or severe persistent. Patients with persistent asthma require medications that provide long-term control of their disease and medications that provide quick relief of symptoms. Medications for long-term control of asthma include inhaled corticosteroids, cromolyn, nedocromil, leukotriene modifiers and long-acting bronchodilators. Inhaled corticosteroids remain the most effective anti-inflammatory medications in the treatment of asthma. Quick-relief medications include short-acting beta2 agonists, anticholinergics and systemic corticosteroids. The frequent use of quick-relief medications indicates poor asthma control and the need for larger doses of medications that provide long-term control of asthma. New guidelines from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel II recommend an aggressive "step-care" approach. In this approach, therapy is instituted at a step higher than the patient's current level of asthma severity, with a gradual "step down" in therapy once control is achieved.
ABSTRACT: Gastroesophageal reflux disease typically manifests as heartburn and regurgitation, but it may also present with atypical or extraesophageal symptoms, including asthma, chronic cough, laryngitis, hoarseness, chronic sore throat, dental erosions, and noncardiac chest pain. Diagnosing atypical manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease is often a challenge because heartburn and regurgitation may be absent, making it difficult to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Upper endoscopy and 24-hour pH monitoring are insensitive and not useful for many patients as initial diagnostic modalities for evaluation of atypical symptoms. In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease who have atypical or extraesophageal symptoms, aggressive acid suppression using proton pump inhibitors twice daily before meals for three to four months is the standard treatment, although some studies have failed to show a significant benefit in symptomatic improvement. If these symptoms improve or resolve, patients may step down to a minimal dose of antisecretory therapy over the following three to six months. Surgical intervention via Nissen fundoplication is an option for patients who are unresponsive to aggressive antisecretory therapy. However, long-term studies have shown that some patients still require antisecretory therapy and are more likely to develop dysphagia, rectal flatulence, and the inability to belch or vomit.
Albuterol vs. Levalbuterol for Asthma Treatment in Children - AFP Journal Club
Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium - Article
ABSTRACT: Magnesium is an essential mineral for optimal metabolic function. Research has shown that the mineral content of magnesium in food sources is declining, and that magnesium depletion has been detected in persons with some chronic diseases. This has led to an increased awareness of proper magnesium intake and its potential therapeutic role in a number of medical conditions. Studies have shown the effectiveness of magnesium in eclampsia and preeclampsia, arrhythmia, severe asthma, and migraine. Other areas that have shown promising results include lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome, improving glucose and insulin metabolism, relieving symptoms of dysmenorrhea, and alleviating leg cramps in women who are pregnant. The use of magnesium for constipation and dyspepsia are accepted as standard care despite limited evidence. Although it is safe in selected patients at appropriate dosages, magnesium may cause adverse effects or death at high dosages. Because magnesium is excreted renally, it should be used with caution in patients with kidney disease. Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
ABSTRACT: The Expert Panel Report 3 of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program represents a major advance in the approach to asthma care by emphasizing the monitoring of clinically relevant aspects of care and the importance of planned primary care, and by providing patients practical tools for self-management. Treatment of asthma should be guided by a new system of classification that assesses severity at initial evaluation and control at all subsequent visits. Asthma severity is determined by current impairment (as evidenced by impact on day-to-day activities) and risk of future exacerbations (as evidenced by frequency of oral systemic corticosteroid use), and allows categorization of disease as intermittent, persistent-mild, persistent-moderate, and persistent-severe. Initial treatment is guided by the disease-severity category. The degree of control is also determined by the analysis of current impairment and future risk. Validated questionnaires can be used for following the impairment domain of control with patients whose asthma is categorized as "well controlled," "not well controlled," and "very poorly controlled." Decisions about medication adjustment and planned follow-up are based on the category of disease control. Whereas a stepwise approach for asthma management continues to be recommended, the number of possible steps has increased.
The New Asthma Guidelines - Editorials
Putting Clinical Guidelines Into Practice - Improving Patient Care