Items in AFP with MESH term: Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
ABSTRACT: A number of antidepressants have emerged in the U.S. market in the past two decades. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have become the drugs of choice in the treatment of depression, and they are also effective in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. New indications for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors include post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Extended-release venlafaxine has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Mirtazapine, which is unrelated to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is unique in its action--stimulating the release of norepinephrine and serotonin. The choice of antidepressant drug depends on the agent's pharmacologic profile, secondary actions, and tolerability. Sexual dysfunction related to the use of antidepressants may be addressed by reducing the dosage, switching to another agent, or adding another drug to overcome the sexual side effects. Augmentation with lithium or triiodothyronine may be useful in patients who are partially or totally resistant to antidepressant treatment. Finally, tapering antidepressant medication may help to avoid discontinuation syndrome or antidepressant withdrawal.
ABSTRACT: Detoxification from alcohol can be undertaken in ambulatory settings with patients who are alcohol-dependent and show signs of mild to moderate withdrawal when they are not drinking. An appropriate candidate for outpatient detoxification should have arrangements to start an alcohol treatment program and a responsible support person who can monitor progress, and should not have significant, acute, comorbid conditions or risk factors for severe withdrawal. Long-acting benzodiazepines, the preferred medications for alcohol detoxification, can be given on a fixed schedule or through "front-loading" or "symptom-triggered" regimens. Adjuvant sympatholytics can be used to treat hyperadrenergic symptoms that persist despite adequate sedation. Progress can be monitored with the use of a standard withdrawal-assessment scale and daily physician contact. Detoxification is not a stand-alone treatment but should serve as a bridge to a formal treatment program for alcohol dependence.
Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome occurs in approximately 20 percent of patients after abrupt discontinuation of an antidepressant medication that was taken for at least six weeks. Typical symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome include flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory disturbances, and hyperarousal. These symptoms usually are mild, last one to two weeks, and are rapidly extinguished with reinstitution of antidepressant medication. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is more likely with a longer duration of treatment and a shorter half-life of the treatment drug. A high index of suspicion should be maintained for the emergence of discontinuation symptoms, which should prompt close questioning regarding accidental or purposeful self-discontinuation of medication. Before antidepressants are prescribed, patient education should include warnings about the potential problems associated with abrupt discontinuation. Education about this common and likely underrecognized clinical phenomenon will help prevent future episodes and minimize the risk of misdiagnosis.
A Different Look at Corticosteroids - Article
ABSTRACT: Systemic corticosteroids have been used in the treatment of numerous medical conditions for approximately 50 years. Short-acting products such as hydrocortisone are the least potent. Prednisone and methylprednisolone, which are intermediate-acting products, are four to five times more potent than hydrocortisone. Dexamethasone is a long-acting, systemic corticosteroid; its potency is about 25 times greater than the short-acting products. Corticosteroids reduce the need for hospitalization in patients with croup and decrease morbidity and the incidence of respiratory failure in the treatment of patients with AIDS who have Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Other often overlooked indications for corticosteroids are the treatment of hyperthyroid states, including thyroid storm, subacute thyroiditis and ophthalmopathy of Graves' disease. Systemic steroids can be used as adjuvant analgesics in the treatment of neuropathic and cancer-related pain. They may also decrease mortality in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis and concomitant encephalopathy. Corticosteroids can reduce complications in patients with meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae or Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Marijuana: Medical Implications - Article
ABSTRACT: Over 50 percent of people will use marijuana sometime in their life. While intoxication lasts two to three hours, the active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol, can accumulate in fatty tissues, including the brain and testes. Adverse effects from marijuana use include decreased coordination, epithelial damage to the lungs, increased risk of infection, cardiovascular effects and cognitive deficits. Unexplained behavior changes, altered social relationships and poor performance at school or work can signify a drug problem. Treatment requires a combination of education, social support, drug monitoring and attention to comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions.
ABSTRACT: The symptomatic effects of drug abuse are a result of alterations in the functioning of the following neurotransmitters or their receptors: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, opioids and serotonin. Anticholinergic drugs antagonize acetylcholine receptors. Dissociative drugs affect all transmitter sites. Opiates act on both opioid and adrenergic receptor sites. Psychedelic drugs stimulate serotonin release, and sedative-hypnotic drugs potentiate the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. Specific signs and symptoms are associated with the neurotransmitters and receptors affected by each drug class. By recognizing symptomatic changes related to particular neurotransmitters and their receptors, family physicians can accurately determine the drug class and intervene appropriately to counteract drug-induced effects.
Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
Opioid Dependence - Clinical Evidence Handbook