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ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis is a common problem affecting up to 10 percent of all children. The mainstays of therapy have been oral antihistamines, topical emollients, topical doxepin, and topical corticosteroids. Side effects associated with higher potency topical corticosteroids have limited their use in children and for facial areas. Tacrolimus (Protopic) is an immunosuppressive agent typically used systemically in transplant patients. Used topically, it has been found to be effective in treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis without causing the atrophy that might occur with prolonged use of topical corticosteroids. Tacrolimus works equally well in children and adults, with more than two thirds of both groups having an improvement of greater than 50 percent. Despite its potency, very little of the medication is systemically absorbed, and absorption decreases as the atopic dermatitis resolves. The main side effects are burning and itching, but these also decrease with improvement of the atopic dermatitis.
Persistent Penile Patch - Photo Quiz
ABSTRACT: Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that affects up to 480,000 persons in the United States. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, malaise, and arthralgias, and cause considerable morbidity. Speculation about genetic, environmental, dietary, infectious, and immunologic etiologies has led to treatment modalities directed at each theoretic cause, but therapy guidelines are determined by the severity of disease. Use of salicylates and/or antibiotics can be effective in mild to moderate disease, while steroids are the accepted therapy for more severe active disease. Azathioprine and other immunosuppresant drugs can be used as adjunctive therapy for active Crohn's disease and may help to maintain remission. Infliximab, an antibody to human tumor necrosis factor alpha, has proved successful in the treatment of severe refractory disease and generally causes only mild side effects. Therapy for Crohn's disease must involve treating comorbid conditions to improve the quality of life of patients.
Cutaneous Manifestation of a Systemic Disease - Photo Quiz
Henoch-Schönlein Purpura - Article
ABSTRACT: Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura is an acute, systemic, immune complex-mediated, leukocytoclastic vasculitis. It is characterized by a triad of palpable purpura (without thrombocytopenia), abdominal pain, and arthritis. Most patients have an antecedent upper respiratory illness. More than 90 percent of Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura cases occur in children younger than 10 years; however, adults with this condition are more likely to experience complications than children. All patients with Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura develop a purpuric rash, 75 percent develop arthritis, 60 to 65 percent develop abdominal pain, and 40 to 50 percent develop renal disease. Because Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura spontaneously resolves in 94 percent of children and 89 percent of adults, supportive treatment is the primary intervention. Oral prednisone at 1 to 2 mg per kg daily for two weeks has been used to treat abdominal and joint symptoms. A meta-analysis found that corticosteroid use in children reduced the mean time to resolution of abdominal pain and decreased the odds of developing persistent renal disease. Early aggressive therapy with high-dose steroids plus immunosuppressants is recommended for patients with severe renal involvement. Long-term prognosis depends on the severity of renal involvement. End-stage renal disease occurs in 1 to 5 percent of patients.
Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: Patients with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, have recurrent symptoms with considerable morbidity. Patient involvement and education are necessary components of effective management. Mild disease requires only symptomatic relief and dietary manipulation. Mild to moderate disease can be managed with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds, including olsalazine and mesalamine. Mesalamine enemas and suppositories are useful in treating proctosigmoiditis. Antibiotics such as metronidazole may be required in patients with Crohn's disease. Corticosteroids are beneficial in patients with more severe symptoms, but side effects limit their use, particularly for chronic therapy. Immunosuppressant therapy may be considered in patients with refractory disease that is not amenable to surgery. Inflammatory bowel disease in pregnant women can be managed with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds and corticosteroids. Since longstanding inflammatory bowel disease (especially ulcerative colitis) is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, periodic colonoscopy is warranted.
ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis is a common, potentially debilitating condition that can compromise quality of life. Its most frequent symptom is pruritus. Attempts to relieve the itch by scratching simply worsen the rash, creating a vicious circle. Treatment should be directed at limiting itching, repairing the skin and decreasing inflammation when necessary. Lubricants, antihistamines and topical corticosteroids are the mainstays of therapy. When required, oral corticosteroids can be used. If pruritus does not respond to treatment, other diagnoses, such as bacterial overgrowth or viral infections, should be considered. Treatment options are available for refractory atopic dermatitis, but these measures should be reserved for use in unique situations and typically require consultation with a dermatologist or an allergist.
Systemic Vasculitis - Article
ABSTRACT: The systemic vasculitides are characterized by inflammation of blood vessel walls. Vessels of any type, in any organ can be affected, resulting in a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms. The heterogenous nature of vasculitides presents a diagnostic challenge. The American College of Rheumatology classification criteria and the Chapel Hill Consensus Conference nomenclature are the most widely used to distinguish different forms of vasculitis. The Chapel Hill Consensus Conference nomenclature defines 10 primary vasculitides based on vessel size (large, medium, and small). The diagnosis relies on the recognition of a compatible clinical presentation supported by specific laboratory or imaging tests and confirmatory histology. Antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibody testing has been of particular benefit in defining a subgroup of small vessel vasculitides. Treatment is based on clinical presentation and the pattern of organ involvement. Glucocorticoids are the primary treatment for many forms of vasculitis. Additional immunosuppressive agents, including methotrexate and cyclophosphamide, are sometimes required. Newer approaches, such as the use of anti-tumor necrosis factor or B cell therapies, are being tried in resistant cases. Patients can experience considerable treatment-related toxicity, especially infection from immunosuppressive therapy and adverse effects from steroids (e.g., osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, cataract). Vitamin D and calcium prophylaxis are recommended in patients on long-term steroid therapy.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Lichen Planus - Article
ABSTRACT: Lichen planus is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that affects the skin, oral mucosa, genital mucosa, scalp, and nails. Lichen planus lesions are described using the six P’s (planar [flat-topped], purple, polygonal, pruritic, papules, plaques). Onset is usually acute, affecting the flexor surfaces of the wrists, forearms, and legs. The lesions are often covered by lacy, reticular, white lines known as Wickham striae. Classic cases of lichen planus may be diagnosed clinically, but a 4-mm punch biopsy is often helpful and is required for more atypical cases. High-potency topical corticosteroids are first-line therapy for all forms of lichen planus, including cutaneous, genital, and mucosal erosive lesions. In addition to clobetasol, topical tacrolimus appears to be an effective treatment for vulvovaginal lichen planus. Topical corticosteroids are also first-line therapy for mucosal erosive lichen planus. Systemic corticosteroids should be considered for severe, widespread lichen planus involving oral, cutaneous, or genital sites. Referral to a dermatologist for systemic therapy with acitretin (an expensive and toxic oral retinoid) or an oral immunosuppressant should be considered for patients with severe lichen planus that does not respond to topical treatment. Lichen planus may resolve spontaneously within one to two years, although recurrences are common. However, lichen planus on mucous membranes may be more persistent and resistant to treatment.
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.