Sunday, December 15, 2013

Niacin for dyslipidemia

Niacin is one of our options for managing cholesterol in patients with dyslipidemia.  The benefits of high doses of niacin are well established in reducing triglycerides by 20-50%, reducing LDL by 10-25%, and increasing HDL by 10-30%.  What is not well established, however, are the clinically beneficial endpoints of niacin. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Use of dexamethasone for vasogenic edema

Vasogenic edema is a result of a disruption of the blood brain barrier that is frequently related to tumors.  The edema can lead to increased intracranial pressure in addition to tissue shifts and brain displacement.  Injury can occur not only from this mechanical shift but also from decreased perfusion that is associated with elevated intracranial pressure.

Dexamethasone is a potent, long-acting glucocorticoid which has no inherent mineralocorticoid activity.  Glucocorticoids have a number of mechanisms for how they reduce inflammation in the body including reduction in lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils, and eosinophils (neutrophils decrease at the site of inflammation but increase in the blood); suppression of the arachadonic acid cascade by inhibiting phospholipase A2 which reduces prostaglandins and leukotrienes; inhibition of other antigen presenting cells; vasoconstriction and decreased capillary permeability; and at large doses, reduced production of antibodies.

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