Items in AFP with MESH term: Anti-Asthmatic Agents
Management of Asthma in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of asthma in children has increased 160 percent since 1980, and the disease currently affects nearly 5 million children in the United States. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program provides guidelines for improved asthma care. The goals of this program are to limit the frequency, severity and costliness of asthma exacerbations through extensive education of physicians, children and caregivers. The four components of asthma management include regular assessment and monitoring, control of factors that contribute to or aggravate symptoms, pharmacologic therapy and education of children and their caregivers. The guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to pharmacologic treatment, starting with aggressive therapy to achieve control and followed by a "step down" to the minimal therapy that will maintain control. Quick relief of symptoms can be achieved preferentially by the use of short-acting beta2 agonists. Medications for long-term control should be considered for use in children with persistent symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most potent long-term anti-inflammatory medications. Other options include long-acting beta2 agonists, cromolyn sodium and nedocromil, antileukotriene agents and theophylline. All have advantages and disadvantages in individual situations.
ABSTRACT: Exercise-induced bronchospasm is an obstruction of transient airflow that usually occurs five to 15 minutes after physical exertion. Although this condition is highly preventable, it is still underrecognized and affects aerobic fitness and quality of life. Diagnosis is based on the results of a detailed history, including assessment of asthma triggers, symptoms suggestive of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and a normal forced expiratory volume at one second at rest. A trial of therapy with an inhaled beta agonist may be instituted, with the subsequent addition of inhaled anti-inflammatory agents or ipratropium bromide. Nonpharmacologic measures, such as increased physical conditioning, warm-up exercises, and covering the mouth and nose, should be instituted. If symptoms persist, pulmonary function testing is warranted to rule out underlying lung disease.
Childhood Asthma: Treatment Update - Article
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of childhood asthma has risen significantly over the past four decades. A family history of atopic disease is associated with an increased likelihood of developing asthma, and environmental triggers such as tobacco smoke significantly increase the severity of daily asthma symptoms and the frequency of acute exacerbations. The goal of asthma therapy is to control symptoms, optimize lung function, and minimize days lost from school. Acute care of an asthma exacerbation involves the use of inhaled beta2 agonists delivered by a metered-dose inhaler with a spacer, or a nebulizer, supplemented by anticholinergics in more severe exacerbations. The use of systemic and inhaled corticosteroids early in an asthma attack may decrease the rate of hospitalization. Chronic care focuses on controlling asthma by treating the underlying airway inflammation. Inhaled corticosteroids are the agent of choice in preventive care, but leukotriene inhibitors and nedocromil also can be used as prophylactic therapy. Long-acting beta2 agonists may be added to one of the anti-inflammatory medications to improve control of asthma symptoms. Education programs for caregivers and self-management training for children with asthma improve outcomes. Although the control of allergens has not been demonstrated to work as monotherapy, immunotherapy as an adjunct to standard medical therapy can improve asthma control. Sublingual immunotherapy is a newer, more convenient option than injectable immunotherapy, but it requires further study. Omalizumab, a newer medication for prevention and control of moderate to severe asthma, is an expensive option.
ABSTRACT: Leukotriene inhibitors are the first new class of medications for the treatment of persistent asthma that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in more than two decades. They also have been approved for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Prescriptions of leukotriene inhibitors have outpaced the evidence supporting their use, perhaps because of perceived ease of use compared with other asthma medications. In the treatment of persistent asthma, randomized controlled trials have shown leukotriene inhibitors to be more effective than placebo but less effective than inhaled corticosteroids. The use of leukotriene inhibitors has not consistently shown an inhaled-steroid-sparing effect, a reduction in need for systemic steroid treatment, or a cost savings. For exercise-induced asthma, leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as long-acting beta2-agonist bronchodilators and are superior to placebo; they have not been compared with short-acting bronchodilators. Leukotriene inhibitors are as effective as antihistamines but are less effective than intranasal steroids for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. The use of leukotriene inhibitors in treating atopic dermatitis, aspirin-intolerant asthma, and chronic idiopathic urticaria appears promising but has not been studied thoroughly. Leukotriene inhibitors have minimal side effects and are well tolerated in most populations.
Genetic Factors In Drug Metabolism - Article
ABSTRACT: Patients vary widely in their response to drugs. Having an understanding of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of various medications is importantwhen assessing ethnic differences in drug response. Genetic factors can account for 20 to 95 percent of patient variability. Genetic polymorphisms for many drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug targets (e.g., receptors) have been identified. Although currently limited to a few pathways, pharmacogenetic testing may enable physicians to understand why patients react differently to various drugs and to make better decisions about therapy. Ultimately, this understanding may shift the medical paradigm to highly individualized therapeutic regimens.
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.
Medications in the Breast-Feeding Mother - Article
ABSTRACT: Prescribing medications for a breast-feeding mother requires weighing the benefits of medication use for the mother against the risk of not breast-feeding the infant or the potential risk of exposing the infant to medications. A drug that is safe for use during pregnancy may not be safe for the nursing infant. The transfer of medications into breast milk depends on a concentration gradient that allows passive diffusion of nonionized, non-protein-bound drugs. The infant's medication exposure can be limited by prescribing medications to the breast-feeding mother that are poorly absorbed orally, by avoiding breast-feeding during times of peak maternal serum drug concentration and by prescribing topical therapy when possible. Mothers of premature or otherwise compromised infants may require altered dosing to avoid drug accumulation and toxicity in these infants. The most accurate and up-to-date sources of information, including Internet resources and telephone consultations, should be used.
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
Vision Loss in Older Persons - Article
ABSTRACT: Family physicians have an essential role in assessing, identifying, treating, and preventing or delaying vision loss in the aging population. Approximately one in 28 U.S. adults older than 40 years is visually impaired. Vision loss is associated with depression, social isolation, falls, and medication errors, and it can cause disturbing hallucinations. Adults older than 65 years should be screened for vision problems every one to two years, with attention to specific disorders, such as diabetic retinopathy, refractive error, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Vision-related adverse effects of commonly used medications, such as amiodarone or phosphodiesterase inhibitors, should be considered when evaluating vision problems. Prompt recognition and management of sudden vision loss can be vision saving, as can treatment of diabetic retinopathy, refractive error, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Aggressive medical management of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia; encouraging smoking cessation; reducing ultraviolet light exposure; and appropriate response to medication adverse effects can preserve and protect vision in many older persons. Antioxidant and mineral supplements do not prevent age-related macular degeneration, but may play a role in slowing progression in those with advanced disease.