ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Postmenopausal Osteoporosis and Estrogen - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the development of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are associated with neuronal destruction, particularly in cholinergic neurons. Drugs that inhibit the degradation of acetylcholine within synapses are the mainstay of therapy. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are safe but have potentially troublesome cholinergic side effects, including nausea, anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. These adverse reactions are often self-limited and can be minimized by slow drug titration. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors appear to be effective, but the magnitude of benefit may be greater in clinical trials than in practice. The drugs clearly improve cognition, but evidence is less robust for benefits in delaying nursing home placement and improving functional ability and behaviors. Benefit for vitamin E or selegiline has been suggested, but supporting evidence is not strong. Most guidelines for monitoring drug therapy in patients with Alzheimer's disease recommend periodic measurements of cognition and functional ability. The guidelines generally advise discontinuing therapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors when dementia becomes severe.
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.
Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly - Editorials
Vaginal Estrogen Preparations for Relief of Atrophic Vaginitis - Cochrane for Clinicians
Lower- vs. Higher-Dose Estrogen for Contraception - Cochrane for Clinicians
New Drugs for Alzheimer's Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease is characterized by degeneration of various structures in the brain, with development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Deficiencies of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters also occur. Pharmacologic treatment of the disease generally seeks to correct the histopathology, the biochemical derangements or their effects. The only drugs labeled to date for the treatment of cognitive symptoms in patients with Alzheimer's disease are two cholinesterase inhibitors that prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the synapse. Both medications are associated with modest improvements in cognitive function. However, all benefit is lost when these drugs are discontinued; the disease then progresses to the level seen in placebo-treated patients. Tacrine, the first cholinesterase inhibitor to be so labeled, must be taken four times daily and is associated with hepatic toxicity. Donepezil is taken once daily. Side effects of the cholinesterase inhibitors include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which tend to subside after the titration period. Other drugs that have shown some promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease are vitamin E, estrogen, selegiline and a mixture of ergoloid mesylates. Anti-inflammatory drugs and nicotine are also being studied for their effects as neuroprotectors or neurotransmitter enhancers. The caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease may see little effect from these or other investigational agents, but nursing home placement may be delayed.
ABSTRACT: Management of the most common type of dementia--Alzheimer's disease--is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Differentiation of Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia has become therapeutically important, since the choice of treatments depends on the diagnosis. Two cholinesterase inhibitors, donepezil and tacrine, are labeled for use in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Other therapies, such as estrogen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamin E, are sometimes used and show promise in delaying the progression of this dementia. Behavior problems, which often accompany the disease, can be managed using environmental modification, alterations in caregiving and medication. In the terminal phase of the illness, quality care involves implementing advance directives, communicating with the family, individualizing care and attending to patient comfort.
Prevention of Osteoporosis and Fractures - Article
ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis and low bone density are associated with a risk of fracture as a result of even minimally traumatic events. The estimated lifetime risk of osteoporotic fracture is as high as 50 percent, especially in white and Asian women. The use of caffeine, tobacco and steroids is associated with a decrease in bone density. Cognitive impairment, vision problems and postural instability increase the risk of falling and sustaining a fracture. Medications such as long-acting sedative hypnotics, anticonvulsants and tricyclic antidepressants also increase this risk. Combinations of clinical and radiographic findings can predict fracture risk more effectively than bone densitometry, but often only after the first fracture has occurred. The addition of dietary calcium and/or vitamin D is clearly both cost-effective and significant in reducing the likelihood of fractures. Bisphosphonates reduce fracture risk but at a cost that may be prohibitive for some patients. Estrogen and estrogen-receptor modulators have not been well studied in randomized trials evaluating the reduction of fractures, but they are known to increase bone density. Pharmacologic therapy and the reduction of sensory and environmental hazards can prevent osteoporotic fractures in some patients.