Concise Reviews for Primary-Care Physicians
Evaluation and Treatment of Overactive Bladder in WomenOveractive bladder (OAB) is a symptom complex that includes urinary urgency, frequency, urgency incontinence, and nocturia. It is highly prevalent, affecting up to 12% of the adult population, and can significantly impact quality of life. The diagnosis of OAB is made by history, physical examination, and a urinalysis to rule out underlying infection or other concerning potential etiologies. The need for additional testing is based on the initial evaluation findings, and is recommended in cases of underlying urinary tract infection, microscopic hematuria, obstructive voiding symptoms, and symptoms refractory to previous treatments.
Institutional Review Boards: What Clinician Researchers Need to KnowThe institutional review board (IRB) is a group federally mandated to review and monitor research involving humans to ensure protection of their rights and welfare as research participants. Clinicians engaged in research require IRB approval for all research involving human participants, whether living individuals, data, or specimens. The process for obtaining IRB approval may seem like a daunting task. However, it is critical for clinical researchers to conduct research in a manner that protects human participants, and it is the mission of the IRB to help researchers accomplish this task.
Migraine Headache: Updates and Future DevelopmentsMigraine is a common disabling condition that is frequently managed by primary care providers. In recent years, the growing array of migraine therapies has added complexity to patient care. This article serves as a succinct review of pertinent updates and future directions regarding migraine. Our understanding of pathophysiology has progressed along with new advances in biomarkers and genetics. These discoveries have led to a wealth of new options for treatment, many of which are specifically targeted against molecules implicated in migraine headache such as calcitonin gene–related peptide.
Proton Pump Inhibitors: Review of Emerging ConcernsFirst introduced in 1989, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the most widely utilized medications worldwide, both in the ambulatory and inpatient clinical settings. The PPIs are currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the management of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders including symptomatic peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and nonulcer dyspepsia as well as for prevention of gastrointestinal bleeding in patients receiving antiplatelet therapy.
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: Management Strategies for the ClinicianGenitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), previously known as atrophic vaginitis or vulvovaginal atrophy, affects more than half of postmenopausal women. Caused by low estrogen levels after menopause, it results in bothersome symptoms, including vaginal dryness, itching, dyspareunia, urinary urgency and increased frequency, and urinary tract infections. Even though women with GSM can have sexual dysfunction that interferes with partner relationships, women are often embarrassed to seek treatment, and health care professionals do not always actively screen for GSM.
Benzodiazepine Use in Older Adults: Dangers, Management, and Alternative TherapiesSeveral major medical and psychiatric organizations, including the American Geriatrics Society, advise against using benzodiazepines or nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics in older adults. Despite these recommendations, benzodiazepines continue to be massively prescribed to a group with the highest risk of serious adverse effects from these medications. This article summarizes legitimate reasons for prescribing benzodiazepines in the elderly, serious associated risks of prescribing them, particularly when not indicated, barriers physicians encounter in changing their prescription patterns, and evidence-based strategies on how to discontinue benzodiazepines in older patients.
Counseling Patients on the Use of Electronic CigarettesElectronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have substantially increased in popularity. Clear evidence about the safety of e-cigarettes is lacking, and laboratory experiments and case reports suggest these products may be associated with potential adverse health consequences. The effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation is modest and appears to be comparable to the nicotine patch combined with minimal behavioral support. Although a role for e-cigarettes in the treatment of tobacco dependence may emerge in the future, the potential risk of e-cigarettes outweighs their known benefit as a recommended tobacco treatment strategy by clinicians.
Current Issues in ContraceptionContraceptive management in women should take into account patient lifestyle and coexisting medical issues as well as method safety, efficacy, and noncontraceptive benefits. This review focuses on common and timely issues related to contraception encountered in clinical practice, including migraine headaches and associated risk of ischemic stroke, the use of combined hormonal contraception along with citalopram and escitalopram, contraceptive efficacy and safety in the setting of obesity, contraceptives for treatment of menorrhagia, the association of intrauterine contraception and decreased risk of cervical cancer, and the association of venous thromboembolism and combined hormonal contraception.
Practical Suicide-Risk Management for the Busy Primary Care Physician
Suicide is a public health problem and a leading cause of death. The number of people thinking seriously about suicide, making plans, and attempting suicide is surprisingly high. In total, primary care clinicians write more prescriptions for antidepressants than mental health clinicians and see patients more often in the month before their death by suicide. Treatment of depression by primary care physicians is improving, but opportunities remain in addressing suicide-related treatment variables.
Bioidentical Hormone TherapyThe change in hormonal milieu associated with perimenopause and menopause can lead to a variety of symptoms that can affect a woman's quality of life. Postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) is an effective, well-tolerated treatment for these symptoms. However, combined HT consisting of conjugated equine estrogen and medroxyprogesterone acetate has been associated with an increased number of health risks when compared with conjugated equine estrogen alone or placebo. As a result, some women are turning to alternative hormonal formulations known as compounded bioidentical HT because they perceive them to be a safer alternative.
Adverse Effects of Bisphosphonates: Implications for Osteoporosis ManagementBisphosphonates are widely prescribed and highly effective at limiting the bone loss that occurs in many disorders characterized by increased osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, including senile osteoporosis in both men and women, glucocorticoid-associated osteoporosis, and malignancies metastatic to bone. Although they are generally well tolerated, potential adverse effects may limit bisphosphonate use in some patients. Optimal use of bisphosphonates for osteoporosis requires adequate calcium and vitamin D intake before and during therapy.
An Update on Childhood and Adolescent VaccinesIn 2008, the recommendations for vaccines in children and adolescents changed substantially. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices expanded the routine use of influenza vaccines. New recommendations also addressed the newly licensed rotavirus vaccine. Furthermore, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices addressed the use of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine in children aged 2 to 10 years who are at high risk of that disease. Finally, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed the safety data collected about the human papillomavirus vaccine since its licensure and reaffirmed their recommendations for its use.
Understanding Women's Sexual Health: A Case-Based ApproachFemale sexual dysfunction is complex and its management challenging. In this review, we discuss female sexual response and the definitions of female sexual disorders. Evidence-based strategies for the evaluation and multidisciplinary treatment of female sexual dysfunction are presented in a case-oriented manner applicable to everyday clinical practice.
Treatment of Tobacco DependenceCigarette smoking continues to cause substantial death and disability, but more than 1 in 5 adults smoke despite the desire among most smokers to stop and the availability of effective treatments. A systematic process to identify all smokers is crucial. Because tobacco dependence is characterized by relapses and remissions, clinicians should be ready to engage smokers and reengage relapsed smokers with options for new medication strategies and additional counseling resources.
Treatment of ObesityFor primary care physicians, obesity is one of the most challenging problems confronted in office practice. The disorder is increasing in prevalence despite the efforts of both patients and physicians. Treatment requires a multimodality approach that addresses diet, physical activity, and behavioral issues. Medication and surgical approaches may be appropriate as well. This review outlines the evidence for each approach, suggests how primary care physicians can best help obese patients, and provides practical tips for weight loss.
Hormonal Contraception UpdateUnintended pregnancy continues to be a serious public health issue in the United States. Of the 3 million unplanned pregnancies per year, 60% occur in women using some form of contraception. Educating and helping women choose a contraceptive agent that best suits their needs will improve compliance and contraceptive efficacy. A multitude of new contraceptive agents are now available. We review new hormonal contraceptive options and discuss newer oral agents, extended-cycle contraception, and innovative delivery methods.
Diagnosis, Screening, Prevention, and Treatment of OsteoporosisOsteoporosis is the most common bone disease in humans and affects both men and women. The clinical and public health implications of the disease are substantial because of the mortality, morbidity, and cost of medical care associated with osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporosis is diagnosed on the basis of a low-impact or fragility fracture or low bone mineral density, which was best assessed by central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Both nonpharmacological therapy (calcium and vitamin D supplementation, weight-bearing exercise, and fall prevention) and pharmacological treatments (antiresorptive and anabolic agents) may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Use of Plasma Brain Natriuretic Peptide Concentration to Aid in the Diagnosis of Heart FailurePlasma concentration of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), as measured by the Triage BNP Test, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to aid in the diagnosis of heart failure. This diagnostic test is available in many institutions. The purpose of this article is to help the physician know the appropriate time to order this test and to aid in interpreting results. To achieve this goal, we review the physiology of BNP, clinical studies that support its use for diagnosing heart failure, and confounding variables to consider when BNP is being used clinically.
Preconception Care by the Nonobstetrical ProviderClinicians who provide health care to women during their childbearing years have the opportunity to affect pregnancy outcomes positively through preconception care. The goal of preconception care is to identify medical and social conditions that may put the mother or fetus at risk. Key elements include screening for certain infectious diseases, obtaining genetic history, updating immunizations, providing specific nutritional advice, and optimizing health status. Some women, and their partners, may require additional care, including a prepregnancy consultation with an obstetrician or maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
Medical Advice for International TravelersEach year, approximately 30 to 40 million Americans travel outside the United States. Although the most popular destinations are Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean, travel to Africa and Asia is increasing substantially. International travel, particularly to developing countries, can be associated with the risk of infectious and noninfectious diseases. These risks can be decreased, eliminated, or modified with vaccinations, prophylactic medications, and education. Optimally, pretravel advice must be individualized to a person's medical history, itinerary, and risk behavior.
Medical management of osteoarthritisOsteoarthritis (OA) is the most common articular disease, and it continues to be a major public health problem related to pain, disability, loss of time from work, and economics. Most patients with OA seek medical attention because of pain. In the past few years, changes in the treatment of OA have been substantial. More effective nonnarcotic analgesics, cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitors, nutraceuticals, and intra-articular hyaluronates are some of the new medications and agents that are now available.
Herbal Therapy: What a Clinician Needs to Know to Counsel Patients EffectivelyThe use of herbal medicine in the United States has been increasing at a steady pace over the past decade. Most recent estimates suggest that the US population spends $5 billion per year for herbal supplements alone. Herbal supplements are receiving increasing exposure through national media, in lay journals, and more recently in the scientific press. Interest in herbal medicine has been facilitated by multiple factors, including the perception that. pharmaceutical medications are expensive, overprescribed, and often dangerous.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators and Phytoestrogens: New Therapies for the Postmenopausal WomanEstrogen deficiency in the postmenopausal woman results in numerous symptomatic and asymptomatic manifestations, including vasomotor symptoms, osteoporosis, heart disease, bladder and vaginal symptoms, and cardiovascular disease. Estrogen replacement therapy is associated with amelioration of these problems but has attendant risks. A newer class of drugs, the selective estrogen receptor modulators, provides both estrogen agonist and antagonist properties, depending on the target tissue. This article discusses the mechanism by which selective estrogen receptor modulators may vary in their end-organ effects and reviews the clinical studies associated with these compounds.
Recent Advances in the Management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus InfectionMajor advances during the past 2 years have resulted in an unprecedented optimism regarding the perception of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. An improved understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV infection coupled with the availability of assays to measure HIV-1 RNA and the approval of new antiretroviral drugs has led to the development of new approaches to the management of HIV infection. In this article, we discuss these advances and their implications in the care of HIV-infected patients.