Procalcitonin-Guided Antibiotic Therapy in Lower Respiratory Tract Infection: Is It Safe?

By Martina McGrath, MD
June 5, 2018

Pulmonary infection is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization in the US. Overprescription of antibiotics, due either to inappropriate initiation or excessive treatment duration, is an important contributor to antibiotic resistance and complications of therapy.1.2 Continue reading “Procalcitonin-Guided Antibiotic Therapy in Lower Respiratory Tract Infection: Is It Safe?”

Vitamin D Supplementation and Reduced Risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

By Martina M. McGrath, MD
August 30, 2017

As the cooler weather descends and the school year starts, we are again entering the season of viruses, colds, flu, and miscellaneous sniffles. Aside from vaccination and good hand hygiene, what else can we recommend to our patients to reduce their risk of upper respiratory tract infection?

A large meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation and respiratory tract infections was published in the BMJ earlier this year.1 The researchers accessed patient-level data on 10,933 trial participants treated with supplemental vitamin D versus placebo. The trials included all age ranges, from birth to adults in their 70s , and had varied dosing regimens for vitamin D supplementation. Continue reading “Vitamin D Supplementation and Reduced Risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections”

Asthma Diagnosis: Time to Review?

By Martina M. McGrath, MD
January 26, 2017

Asthma is characterized by chronic airway inflammation leading to expiratory airflow limitation, associated with dyspnea, wheeze, and cough. Its course is variable with spontaneous remissions, and diagnosis can be challenging. Current recommendations advise that once stably controlled for three months, patients should undergo medication taper to find the minimum maintenance medication effective at keeping symptoms under control.1 Furthermore, several studies have reported failure to confirm asthma in a subset of physician-diagnosed cases.2 In this vein, a Canadian group recently published a study examining if asthma-controlling medications can be safely stopped in patients with physician-diagnosed asthma. Continue reading “Asthma Diagnosis: Time to Review?”