Reddit Has It All

Not sure I want to rinse my nose everyday for sinus problems, but here goes. I advise rinsing the nose for chronic sinusitis every day, but patients initially turn their nose up at this suggestion (pun intended). I find myself intrigued at the interest in nasal irrigation, flushing, or whatever else you want to call it. So who did I turn to but #Reddit Allergy. So what to my wondering eyes did appear, but questions abound for the right sinus rinse! Google search for sinus rinse yields > 7,000,000 hits and searching PubMed 750–you think there might be a problem there? Misinformation abounds and of course every advertiser/company has the best product! Who do you believe? I’m about to give you some guidelines that you can rest assured have at least been studied in one published article. And by the way, to answer your question below, if the water doesn’t come out the other side, you’ve got nasal congestion that needs further evaluation by your allergist or ENT. My comments are highlighted in RED in the lists after each article. There is no test at the end, but maybe next time….

For the Reddit Junkies
One of the few articles published on the true effects of nasal irrigation!
  • Budesonide is a steroid that can always be added to ANY device you use to flush the nose
  • When you hear “double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial” you’re on the right track to some real (and reliable) research. In this study participants didn’t know if they were getting budesonide or placebo; now remember, in any study the placebo effect can be as high as 30-40% and this is why you can’t make recommendations only based on your treatment “experience”.
  • SNOT-22 score–really? Let me know if you want more information on this one. No takers yet!
  • The results? Budesonide was better than saline for the sinuses, but it’s difficult to measure clinically meaningful benefits to sinus treatment. And who’s going to admit to a better SNOT score?
  • The good news: no side effects noted with the irrigation; so it may look bad, but won’t hurt you!

Here’s the abstract from the above study–>

IMPORTANCE: Recent studies suggest that budesonide added to saline nasal lavage can be an effective treatment for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). PARTICIPANTS: This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial was conducted at a quaternary care academic medical center between January 1, 2016, and February 16, 2017. A total of 80 adult patients with CRS were enrolled; 74 completed baseline assessments; and 61 remained in the trial to complete all analyses. Data analysis was conducted from March 2017 to August 2017. INTERVENTIONS: All study participants were provided with a sinus rinse kit including saline and identical-appearing capsules that contained either budesonide (treatment group) or lactose (control group). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was the change in Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22) scores, pretreatment to posttreatment, in the budesonide group compared with the control group. Secondary outcome measures included patient-reported response to treatment, as measured with a modification of the Clinical Global Impressions scale, and endoscopic examination scored by the Lund-Kennedy grading system. RESULTS: Of the 74 participants who completed baseline assessments (37 in each study arm), mean (SD) age, 51 (14.7) years, 50 (68%) were women. Of the 61 who remained in the trial to complete all analyses, 29 were randomized to budesonide treatment, and 32 to saline alone. The average change in SNOT-22 scores was 20.7 points for those in the budesonide group and 13.6 points for those in the control group, for a mean difference of 7 points in favor of the budesonide group (95% CI, -2 to 16). A total of 23 participants (79%) in the budesonide group experienced a clinically meaningful reduction in their SNOT-22 scores compared with 19 (59%) in the control group, for a difference of 20% (95% CI, -2.5% to 42.5%). The average change in endoscopic scores was 3.4 points for the budesonide group and 2.7 points for the control group. There were no related adverse events. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study shows that budesonide in saline nasal lavage results in clinically meaningful benefits beyond the benefits of saline alone for patients with CRS. Given the imprecision in the treatment effect, further research is warranted to define the true effect of budesonide in saline nasal lavage.

Adults have chronic sinusitis too!
  • Inflammation is once again the key to sinus problems even in the adult population.
  • 1-2% of total physician visits, not just allergists or ENTs. Very impressive.
  • Evidence-based approach to assist in optimizing patient care is the “Holy Grail” of being a doctor. If only we had this for COVID-19. Truth of the matter is, it takes years to analyze and accumulate enough data to make statements about evidence-based medicine, so for some issues, you’ll just have to wait.
  • I won’t bore you with the details, but these results come from HUUGE databases such as MEDLINE and Cochrane. It’s nice to be able to “mine the database” and combine multiple studies in the analysis of your final conclusion.
  • Compared with no treatment, saline irrigation was good, “add-in” topical steroids were better; leukotriene antagonists (Singulair) and oral antibiotics also showed improvement in not just sinusitis, but also resolution of nasal polyps.
  • And now let me introduce DUPIXENT! Approved for use in treatment of nasal polyps even without steroids. That is the problem with research–shelf life isn’t the greatest.

I’ve included the abstract below for easier reading–>

IMPORTANCE: Chronic sinusitis is a common inflammatory condition defined by persistent symptomatic inflammation of the Sino nasal cavities lasting longer than 3 months. It accounts for 1% to 2% of total physician encounters and is associated with large health care expenditures. OBJECTIVE: To summarize the highest-quality evidence on medical therapies for adult chronic sinusitis and provide an evidence-based approach to assist in optimizing patient care. EVIDENCE REVIEW: A systematic review searched Ovid MEDLINE (1947-January 30, 2015), EMBASE, and Cochrane Databases. FINDINGS: Twenty-nine studies met inclusion criteria: 12 meta-analyses (>60 RCTs), 13 systematic reviews, and 4 RCTs that were not included in any of the meta-analyses. Saline irrigation improved symptom scores compared with no treatment (standardized mean difference [SMD], 1.42 [95% CI, 1.01 to 1.84]; a positive SMD indicates improvement). Topical corticosteroid therapy improved overall symptom scores (SMD, -0.46 [95% CI, -0.65 to -0.27]; a negative SMD indicates improvement), improved polyp scores (SMD, -0.73 [95% CI, -1.0 to -0.46]; a negative SMD indicates improvement), and reduced polyp recurrence after surgery (relative risk, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.45 to 0.79]). Systemic corticosteroids and oral doxycycline (both for 3 weeks) reduced polyp size compared with placebo for 3 months after treatment (P < .001). Leukotriene antagonists improved nasal symptoms compared with placebo in patients with nasal polyps (P < .01). Macrolide antibiotic for 3 months was associated with improved QOL at a single time point (24 weeks after therapy) compared with placebo for patients without polyps (SMD, -0.43 [95% CI, -0.82 to -0.05]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Evidence supports daily high-volume saline irrigation with topical corticosteroid therapy as a first-line therapy for chronic sinusitis. A short course of systemic corticosteroids (1-3 weeks), short course of doxycycline (3 weeks), or a leukotriene antagonist may be considered in patients with nasal polyps. A prolonged course (3 months) of macrolide antibiotic may be considered for patients without polyps.

  • Fungus among us–we don’t think very often about fungal sinus infections, but in this study, symptoms improved with antifungal treatment. Fortunately, this is topical amphotericin B as the IV route was called “amphoterrible” for good reason.
  • IgE is an antibody used for diagnosis and treatment of allergic rhinitis (one of the biological measurement of IgE is skin testing), but can also be used to measure inflammation due to infection.
  • In this study, almost 25% of ALL participants had recurrence of chronic sinusitis, but it was improved in the amphotericin B rinse group. IgE went down as well. It’s nice to know that something works for sinus problems, but now that we have DUPIXENT, the results are probably even more of a game changer!

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of topical antifungal irrigation fluid containing amphotericin B on nasal polyp and their recurrence pattern, and to study the association of serum IgE in predicting the presence of fungus along with the nasal polyps. METHODOLOGY: All adult patients having nasal polyps, who had not undergone any previous nasal surgery, were included in the study. Patients aged under 18 years, history of granulomatous diseases, immunosuppression, invasive fungal sinusitis, and pregnant ladies were excluded from the study. The ratio was kept as 1:2; one receiving irrigation with amphotericin B and the other only saline nasal irrigation without the medicine. Serum IgE level of more than 250 ng/ml was taken as a high value. RESULTS: A total of 87 patients were inducted. Overall 22 (25.3%) patients had recurrence of symptoms at six-month followup visit. Twelve (13.7%) of these were in the placebo group and 10 (11.5%) were in the amphotericin B nasal irrigation group. Serum IgE level preoperatively ranged between 52 – 9344 ng/dl; postoperatively it ranged from 13-1050 ng/dl. CONCLUSION: Amphotericin B improved the CT scan score of the patients. The nasal irrigation of amphotericin B did not show significant change in the recurrence pattern of chronic sinuses with polyps. Serum IgE can be used as marker for the presence and response to treatment for non-invasive fungal sinusitis.

  • Bacteria have evolved sneaky ways to protect themselves from death by antibiotics. Thus, bacterial infections in the form of adherent biofilms are frequently implicated in the pathogenesis and recalcitrance of chronic rhinosinusitis. You dirty rat! That’s for you Jimmie Cagney from “Taxi” (actually a misquote, but that’s for another time!)
  • Lots of methods to suck out your boogers from battery powered to suction from your own mouth into a separate “trap”. Oh parents will do anything to suck out moist mucous!
  • Who would be recruited for this study? Yuck
  • We are left with that SNOT score again to measure any benefit from our treatment with the Snot Sucker.
  • Battery powered nasal irrigation (snot suckers) came up with 2.5 million hits on Google–it’s popular.

I copied parts of the above abstract for details–>

The Hydrodebrider, a disposable powered irrigation and suction device, has been developed specifically to remove biofilm from the paranasal sinuses. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of the Hydrodebrider in the office setting with the use of local anesthesia. Of the original 13 adults we recruited, 10 completed the entire study protocol. All enrolled patients had previously undergone sinus surgery that involved the creation of a maxillary antrostomy large enough to allow placement of a Hydrodebrider device, and the endoscopic findings in all patients were consistent with chronic sinusitis. In conclusion, powered irrigation with suction is a well-tolerated procedure in the office setting and might be a useful short-term adjunct in the management of recalcitrant chronic sinusitis.

Surely, there has to be some conclusions from all this?

  • Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the choices for cleaning out your nose.
  • Using nasal irrigation can include antibiotics, topical steroids, anti-fungal medication, baby shampoo just to name a few. Every doctor who deals with this has their own cocktail.
  • Although clinical research shows that nasal irrigation has a place in the treatment of chronic sinusitis & nasal polyps, you may just want to see your allergist for more aggressive measures such as allergy immunotherapy (AIT), Dupixent, Fasenra, Xolair or many of the other biologics available to treat nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis without using all of those steroids.

#chronic-sinusitis, #nasal-flush, #neil-med-irrigation, #netti-pot, #sinus-irrigation

Why Don’t More Patients with Asthma Use Biologicals?

Last month, I shared several videos with you that pertained to treatment of #asthma with biologicals. I hope you listened to the lives of patients just like you who can now “do life” with their family and friends not having to fear the next asthma attack. But it’s not so easy to change our habits on treating asthma. We’ve been trying for years to get patients to use preventative care (ie, inhaled steroids) and that method even in clinical studies is no more than ~50% effective. So what’s next?

Continue reading

#american-academy-of-allergy-asthma-and-immunology, #american-college-of-allergy-asthma-immunology, #biologics

New Biologicals are unknown

What is the magic bullet of medical treatment? How about a biological that treats two or more diseases at one time? Dupilumab (Dupixent) is one such medication and I agree with Dr. Castro’s interpretation of the data on dupilumab–after all, he wrote the study. Here’s what I like about Dupixent:

  1. Blocks 2 cytokines, both IL-4 and IL-13
  2. Treats 3 different diseases: asthma, nasal polyps, and atopic dermatitis.
  3. If you can’t get approved through your insurance, the company has a very good patient assistance program that makes Dupixent affordable for most patients.

Xolair, xolair, xolair. This biological has been around since my days back in Kansas. I have to admit, when Xolair was first released 20 years ago, I thought “who would use this type of medication?” Not only was I wrong, but Xolair has now set the standard for the use of monoclonal treatment of allergic disease, asthma, and urticaria. But I can’t compete with the video on Xolair….enjoy!

The last biological I mention is one that wasn’t the first on the scene, but has made it’s impression with a unique mechanism for getting rid of allergic inflammation: why not block the eosinophil IL-5 receptor directly? What do I like about Fasenra?

  1. Gets rid of eosinophils quickly–you notice within several weeks many times when Fasenra makes you feel better.
  2. After the first 3 doses, you only have to use Fasenra every OTHER month–pretty cool schedule compared to a daily inhaler.
  3. Reduces both exacerbations of asthma AND the need for corticosteroids.

Time for correct use of spacers

Ok..it’s time we learn the “why” of using spacers, because most patients don’t use them on a regular basis. Spacers do several things for your pocketbook and your asthma:

  1. This spacer below can be purchased for < $10 on-line at Amazon. That’s almost better than a used toilet roll cardboard! Yes, we used to use and recommend I might add this “makeshift” spacer for patients because the others were too expensive.
  2. Your asthma inhaler is much more effective when you use a spacer, because the aerosol is delivered deep into the lungs where you need it–in the small airways. Make sure you don’t use a spacer with dry powder –not needed here. For example, Advair has both dry powder and aerosol; the choice is yours, but no spacer for the dry powder.
  3. If you’re using an aerosol or MDI, you may find that only 1 puff is needed–you save money with similar results, but check with your doctor first before making that kind of switch.
  4. Now you know why we harp on you to use your spacer–saves money and better results.

Go out (or order from home) and get you one today! Leave me a note on how it works. Happy breathing–Dr. Wiens

Scientists “Speak” on Mold Allergy

Background

  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is a pulmonary disorder caused by hypersensitivity to Aspergillus fumigatus, and rarely other Aspergillus species, and is characterized by chronic asthma, recurrent pulmonary infiltrates, and bronchiectasis.
  • An ABPA-like syndrome called allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis is indistinguishable from ABPA but is caused by other fungi.
  • The condition occurs almost exclusively in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or asthma.
  • The global prevalence of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is reported to be 2.5% (range 0.7%-3.5%) among adults with asthma and reported to be 2%-15% in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Evaluation

  • Suspect allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) in patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis who have symptoms consistent with ABPA, such as:
    • difficult-to-control asthma
    • new or worsening cough
    • dyspnea
    • increased sputum production
    • expectoration of brown-black mucus plugs
    • wheezing
    • hemoptysis
  • ABPA may also be suspected in patients with computed tomography (CT) findings of bronchiectasis, especially central bronchiectasis.
  • Multiple sets of diagnostic criteria exist, all of which include a combination of clinical signs, imaging findings, and serologic features.
    • Rosenberg-Patterson diagnostic criteria for patients without cystic fibrosis (most commonly used):
      • major criteria for diagnosis (at least 6 required for diagnosis):
        • asthma
        • transient pulmonary opacities on imaging (fleeting shadows)
        • positive skin test for Aspergillus (type 1 immediate hypersensitivity)
        • peripheral blood eosinophilia (> 1,000 cells/mcL)
        • precipitating antibodies (immunoglobulin [Ig] G) against Aspergillus fumigatus in serum
        • elevated total IgE > 1,000 units/mL
        • central/peripheral bronchiectasis with normal tapering of distal bronchi
        • elevated A. fumigatus-specific IgG and IgE
      • minor criteria:
        • Aspergillus in sputum
        • brownish black mucus plugs in expectorate
        • delayed type III skin reaction to Aspergillus
    • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation diagnostic criteria for patients with cystic fibrosis:
      • classic case (all criteria required):
        • acute or subacute clinical deterioration (cough, wheeze, exercise intolerance, increased sputum, decrease in pulmonary function, exercise-induced asthma) not attributable to other cause
        • serum total IgE > 1,000 units/mL (2,400 ng/mL) in patient not on corticosteroids
        • immediate skin reaction to Aspergillus (wheal > 3 mm diameter with erythema in patient not on antihistamines) or positive serum IgE antibody to A. fumigatus
        • precipitating antibodies to A. fumigatus or serum IgG antibody to A. fumigatus
        • recent or new infiltrates or mucus plugging on chest x-ray or bronchiectasis on chest computed tomography (CT) that does not clear with antibiotics or chest physiotherapy
      • minimal diagnostic criteria:
        • acute or subacute clinical deterioration not attributable to other cause
        • serum total IgE > 500 units/mL (1,200 ng/mL) (if disease suspected and serum total IgE is 200-500 units/mL, repeat testing in 1-3 months)
        • immediate skin reaction to Aspergillus or positive serum IgE antibody to A. fumigatus
        • 1 of following:
          • precipitins to A. fumigatus or IgE antibody to A. fumigatus
          • recent or new infiltrates or mucus plugging on chest x-ray or bronchiectasis on chest CT that does not clear with antibiotics and standard chest physiotherapy
      • diagnosis of ABPA in cystic fibrosis should not be based in serology and skin tests only(2)

Management

  • Treatment goals include:
    • control of symptoms of asthma and cystic fibrosis
    • prevention or treatment of pulmonary exacerbations of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)
    • reducing or remitting pulmonary inflammation
    • avoiding progression to end-stage fibrotic or cavitary disease
  • No large randomized trials have evaluated efficacy of various treatment options as of September 20, 2017.
  • Refer patients with suspected or known ABPA to a pulmonologist or an allergist-immunologist.
  • Systemic corticosteroids are considered the cornerstone of therapy for ABPA.
    • In patients with asthma:
      • typical initial therapy is prednisone 0.5 mg/kg/day (or equivalent) with tapering dose as symptoms improve
      • for patients with mild exacerbation – inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators may help control symptoms
      • for patients with acute exacerbation – prednisone 0.5-1 mg/kg/day for 1-2 weeks, then 0.5 mg/kg every other day for 6-12 weeks following remission, then tapering dose to preexacerbation dose
      • for patients with refractory disease with multiple asthmatic exacerbations – chronic corticosteroid therapy suggested, usually > 7.5 mg/day
      • dosing may be increased based on findings from routine monitoring of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels, pulmonary function tests, and chest imaging, such as:
        • significant increase of IgE levels (such as doubling of baseline IgE level)
        • imaging evidence of infiltrates, mucoid impaction, fibrosis, worsening bronchiectasis, or worsening physiology
    • In patients with cystic fibrosis:
      • oral corticosteroids indicated for all patients except those with corticosteroid toxicity
      • typical initial dose prednisone (or equivalent) is 0.5-2 mg/kg/day orally to maximum 60 mg/day for 1-2 weeks, tapering to 0.5-2 mg/day every other day for 1-2 weeks with attempt to taper completely within 2-3 months
      • in patients with relapse, increase corticosteroid dose, add itraconazole, and taper corticosteroids when clinical status improves
  • Inhaled corticosteroids and methylprednisolone IV pulses may be used in some situations.
  • Consider antifungal agents in adults with severe, poorly controlled asthma and ABPA (Weak recommendation).
  • Combination antifungal/corticosteroid (nebulized amphotericin B and nebulized budesonide) may reduce the incidence of exacerbations.
  • Omalizumab may reduce exacerbations but may not improve or affect lung function or quality of life.
  • For refractory cases, consider evaluating the patient’s environment for significant mold exposure that can be modified (Weak recommendation).
  • Consider adjunct leukotriene antagonists for some patients (Weak recommendation).
  • Follow-up could include imaging at 4-8 weeks and total serum IgE monitoring.
 2017 Aug;13(8):823-835. doi: 10.1080/1744666X.2017.1324298. Epub 2017 May 17.

Mold allergy: is it real and what do we do about it?

 

Abstract

fungi produce substances that contain pathogen-associated molecular patterns (pamps) and damage-associated molecular patterns (damps) which bind to pattern recognition receptors, stimulating innate immune responses in humans. they also produce allergens that induce production of specific ige. Areas covered: In this review we cover both innate and adaptive immune responses to fungi. Some fungal products can activate both innate and adaptive responses and in doing so, cause an intense and complex health effects. Methods of testing for fungal allergy and evidence for clinical treatment including environmental control are also discussed. In addition, we describe controversial issues including the role of Stachybotrys and mycotoxins in adverse health effects. Expert commentary: Concerns about long-term exposure to fungi have led some patients, attorneys and fungus advocates to promote fears about a condition that has been termed toxic mold syndrome. This syndrome is associated with vague symptoms and is believed to be due to exposure to mycotoxins, though this connection has not been proven. Ultimately, more precise methods are needed to measure both fungal exposure and the resulting health effects. Once that such methods become available, much of the speculation will be replaced by knowledge.

New medications for Asthma–are we at the end of the line?

Watch my FOX 23 interview about new asthma meds

Jane (fictitious name, of course because of HIPPA regulations) is now 56 years old and just last year was diagnosed with #asthma. She thought, “no big deal, there are plenty of inhalers for me to use so I don’t wheeze”.  Little did she know that 2019 would put her in the hospital 3 times and multiple visits to the emergency room because of asthma. In fact, she even missed her grandson’s graduation from kindergarten because of her asthma. Now if that doesn’t motivate you, nothing will! Continue reading

#allergies, #tulsa-oklahoma

911–Can We Prevent Trauma from Asthma?

 

Childhood trauma–it happens all around us, but rarely do we take the time to observe it’s devastating effects on our society and culture. Kudos to #Tulsa World for addressing this very complicated and at times hopeless situation. Doris Franstein, who recently retired as Continue reading

#allergic-rhinitis, #allergy-medication, #asthma

September is more than just football

Ask the Allergist: When Allergies Keep You Awake

Myth is, after all, the never ending story Part 2

When it comes to asthma, it’s not easy fighting the myths of Facebook, Google, or e-mail campaigns. And why are we so resistant to the diagnosis of asthma for our kids and ourselves? For asthma, if you don’t make the correct diagnosis, you’ll never implement the proper treatment. By that I mean, you’re not likely to use prevention, but instead will wait for an asthma attack and then rush in to treat the symptoms. Health care providers are responsible for this phenomenon just as much as patients. Go to any emergency room or urgent care with an asthma attack and you’re likely to receive steroids, antibiotics and the admonition to “see your primary care doctor”. The problem is that patients feel better after steroids and guess what? they never seek medical attention for the prevention of #asthma. After practicing asthma medicine for over 25 years, consider the following reasons for why our asthma treatment often fails to meet the “standard of care” according to published #asthma research:

  1.  Asthma attacks don’t happen all at once. If I can get through an asthma attack in September, what’s the big deal of one course of steroids per year? This paroxysmal nature of asthma makes proper treatment very difficult because we tend to have a very short memory about our last asthma attack. 
  2. As a general rule, we all resist preventive care. Do you miss a regular dental floss or exercise session? As difficult as it seems to continue with good preventive care, think how much more difficult it is to take an inhaler everyday to prevent asthma! Antibiotics are so successful after 10-14 days that we can stop therapy and recover back to our original health. Asthma isn’t the same disease process and many times one attack leads to never ending asthma.

Can I get over asthma? The short answer is usually not. Asthma is a disease of inflammation which means the airways over react to allergy, infections, or irritation. In short, this means lungs with asthma are forever inundated with “triggers” that cause wheezing, coughing, and typical asthma symptoms. If you don’t use preventive inhalers for the next attack, you can be assured it will come.

#respiratory-disorders

Take a break and learn more about asthma!