Diagnosis and Management of Headache in Older AdultsHeadache is a common, disabling neurologic problem in all age groups, including older adults. In older adults, headache is most likely a primary disorder, such as tension-type headache or migraine; however, there is a higher risk of secondary causes, such as giant cell arteritis or intracranial lesions, than in younger adults. Thus, based on the headache history, clinical examination, and presence of headache red flags, a focused diagnostic evaluation is recommended, ranging from blood tests to neuroimaging, depending on the headache characteristics.
Clinical Interpretation of Urine Drug Tests: What Clinicians Need to Know About Urine Drug ScreensUrine drug testing is frequently used in clinical, employment, educational, and legal settings and misinterpretation of test results can result in significant adverse consequences for the individual who is being tested. Advances in drug testing technology combined with a rise in the number of novel misused substances present challenges to clinicians to appropriately interpret urine drug test results. Authors searched PubMed and Google Scholar to identify published literature written in English between 1946 and 2016, using urine drug test, screen, false-positive, false-negative, abuse, and individual drugs of abuse as key words.
Cancer Pain ManagementSafe, effective, and evidence-based management of cancer-related pain is a cornerstone of comprehensive cancer care. Despite increasing interest in and efforts to improve its management, pain remains poorly controlled in nearly half of all patients with cancer, with little change in the past 20 years. Limited training in pain assessment and management, overestimation of providers' own skills to treat pain, and failure to refer patients to pain specialists can result in suboptimal pain management with devastating effects on quality of life, physical functioning, and increased psychological distress.
Fibromyalgia and Related ConditionsFibromyalgia is the currently preferred term for widespread musculoskeletal pain, typically accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, memory problems, and sleep and mood disturbances, for which no alternative cause can be identified. Earlier there was some doubt about whether there was an “organic basis” for these related conditions, but today there is irrefutable evidence from brain imaging and other techniques that this condition has strong biological underpinnings, even though psychological, social, and behavioral factors clearly play prominent roles in some patients.
Drug Management in the Elderly Adult With Chronic Kidney Disease: A Review for the Primary Care PhysicianWith advancing age, the functional reserve of many organs tends to decrease. In particular, the lean body mass, the levels of serum albumin, the blood flow to the liver, and the glomerular filtration rate are reduced in elderly individuals and can be further impaired by the concomitant presence of acute or chronic kidney disease. Moreover, patients with kidney disease are often affected by comorbid processes and are prescribed multiple medications. The aging process also modifies some drug interactions, including the affinity of some drugs for their receptor, the number of receptors, and the cell responses upon receptor activation.
Topical Analgesics in the Management of Acute and Chronic PainOral analgesics are commonly prescribed for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, but these agents often produce adverse systemic effects, which sometimes are severe. Topical analgesics offer the potential to provide the same analgesic relief provided by oral analgesics but with minimal adverse systemic effects. This article describes the results of a systematic review of the efficacy of topical analgesics in the management of acute and chronic pain conditions. A literature search of MEDLINE/PubMed was conducted using the keywords topical analgesic AND chronic pain OR acute pain OR neuropathic pain and focused only on individual clinical trials published in English-language journals.
Pain Management in the Cirrhotic Patient: The Clinical ChallengePain management in patients with cirrhosis is a difficult clinical challenge for health care professionals, and few prospective studies have offered an evidence-based approach. In patients with end-stage liver disease, adverse events from analgesics are frequent, potentially fatal, and often avoidable. Severe complications from analgesia in these patients include hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, and gastrointestinal bleeding, which can result in substantial morbidity and even death.
Treatment Considerations for Patients With Neuropathic Pain and Other Medical ComorbiditiesThe efficacy of drugs for neuropathic pain has been established in randomized controlled trials that have excluded patients with comorbid conditions and those taking complex medications. However, patients with neuropathic pain frequently present with complex histories, making direct application of this evidence problematic. Treatment of neuropathic pain needs to be individualized according to the cause of the pain, concomitant diseases, medications, and other individual factors. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), gabapentinoids, selective noradrenergic reuptake inhibitors, and topical lidocaine are the first-line choices; if needed, combination therapy may be used.
Issues in Long-term Opioid Therapy: Unmet Needs, Risks, and SolutionsBoth chronic pain and prescription opioid abuse are prevalent and exact a high toll on patients, physicians, and society. Health care professionals must balance aggressive treatment of chronic pain with the need to minimize the risks of opioid abuse, misuse, and diversion. A thorough, ongoing assessment can help fashion a multimodal therapeutic plan, stratify patients by risk, and identify those who may exhibit aberrant behaviors after receiving opioid therapy. Appropriate safeguards (eg, urine drug screens, pill counts) may be used when necessary.
A Comparison of Long- and Short-Acting Opioids for the Treatment of Chronic Noncancer Pain: Tailoring Therapy to Meet Patient NeedsManagement of chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) requires a comprehensive assessment of the patient, the institution of a structured treatment regimen, an ongoing reassessment of the painful condition and its response to therapy, and a continual appraisal of the patient's adherence to treatment. For many patients with CNCP, the analgesic regimen will include opioids. Physicians should consider the available evidence of efficacy, the routes of administration, and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the various formulations as they relate to the temporal characteristics of the patient's pain.