Lege Artis Medicinae

[mRNA technology did not initially appear to be a clear success story]

KATONA Ferenc

JUNE 07, 2021

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2021;31(05-06)

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Lege Artis Medicinae

[Hypertension, COPD and COVID-19. Focus on antihypertensive therapy]

FARSANG Csaba

[Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a very common comorbidity of hypertension and it is often unrecognised by physicians. The factors involved in the pathomechanism of both diseases should be realised when choosing treatment. Among factors, hypoxia, increased tone of sympathetic nervous system and activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system should primarily be considered. Vascular wall damage and endothelial dysfunction has an important role in both conditions. The goals of treatment are elimination of risk factors, optimizing the blood pressure, the consequential prevention of cardio-cerebrovascular, renal and pulmonary damage; finally prolonging the patients’ life and improving their quality of life as well. Both hypertension and COPD significantly worsen the condition of COVID-19 patients since they increase the severity of the disease and the rate of in-patients’ and their mortality. In the treatment of hypertension among COPD and COVID-19 patients there must be emphasized the medication inhibiting of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, such as angiotensin-converting en­zyme inhibitors or angiotensin-II AT1 re­cep­tor antagonists. Special attention concerned the beneficial effect of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist spironolactone. Other antihypertensive drugs (calcium channel blockers, thiazide-like diu­retics, high selectivity β1 receptor antagonists) may supplement the treatment if necessary. Long-acting β2 receptor agonists, muscarinic receptor antagonists and inhalation corticosteroids may be administered in double or triple combination also in hypertension and COPD as well. It is important to note, that statin therapy and also vitamin D3 improve the condition of COVID-19 patients.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[COVID-19 and Parkinson’s disease]

TÓTH Adrián, TAKÁTS Annamária

[Parkinson’s disease is the elderly people’s condition which increases the risk of infections in the upper airways in its ad­vanced stages. Specific diseases (as hypertension, diabetes mellitus), older age and the male sex are significantly worsening the course of COVID-19. It would be challenging to examine parallel these diseases, since they are raising two important ques­tions. First, if Parkinson’s disease be a risk factor of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Se­condly, how the COVID-19 pandemic can influence the Parkinson’s disease patients. The authors are seeking answers to these questions based on the published results in the topic concerned.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Epilepsy in coronavirus pandemic]

SZŰCS Anna, HALÁSZ Péter, NARULA Lalit

[We aim to review the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy and epilepsy-care. While the virus has no specific link with epilepsy, it may affect the nervous system both directly and indirectly, leading to seizures in several ways. The hyper-coagulable state occurring with the infection may cause strokes leading to seizures. The infection may first manifest in the form of disturbances of consciousness and behaviour, seizures, and even status epilepticus. The interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs need to be taken into account during treatment. The hypercoagulable state induced by COVID-2 infection may cause stroke, which leads to seizures. The infection can occur also as an impaired consciousness of non-epileptic origin. Interactions of antiviral/antiepileptic drugs have also to be taken into account. The pandemic itself as well as quarantines and social distancing may cause anxiety and insomnia, challenge continuous antiepileptic supply; each one carrying the risk of seizing. Young epilepsy patients with learning disabilities and mental health issues are most vulnerable, justifying their hyper-protection. The danger of infection has highlighted the role of telemedicine. Internet-based video communication may ensure full care for chro­nic patients. Those methods favour bes­­ted patients with higher education. Epilepsy does not increase directly the risk of infection, but its comorbidities may worsen the course of the disease. Brain lesions and hypoxia, stress, insomnia and fever joining the infection increase seizure susceptibility. Because the danger of infection ma­de telemedicine an essential tool of pa­tient care, education and better computer supply for those in need is crucial. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Inflammation and autoimmunity in COVID-19]

SZEKANECZ Zoltán, SZAMOSI Szilvia, SZŰCS Gabriella

[The course of COVID-19 has several stages according to the elapsed time and severity. Cytokine storm-induced multisystemic inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and consequent multiorgan failure occur in severe and critical phases. From a pathological point of view, there is important the co-presenting of inflammation (endothelitis) and microthrombotic events. Beyond respiratory failure, they may harm the cardiovascular and nervous system, the liver and the kidneys. COVID-19 may be associated also with production of autoantibodies and development of autoimmune diseases. Multisystemic inflammatory syndrome can be attenuated by corticosteroids, anti-cytokine antibodies and JAK inhibitors (“repurposing”). Most IL-6 inhibitors, and barici­tinib proved to be effective in several stu­dies, when applied in appropriate stage by MIS identification.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Practical aspects of anticoagulant treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic]

KOMÓCSI András

[Coronavirus infection has a multiple im­pact on the coagulation system and anti­coagulant therapies. Patients admitted with COVID-19 have un­usually high incidence of coagulation ab­normalities. The incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) seems also to be more frequent among COVID-19 out- and especially in-patients. Among COVID-19 patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy, for minimizing the risk of bleeding or thromboembolic complications there should also be considered the renal and hepatic functions and drug-drug interactions of oral anticoagulant and COVID-19 therapy. In case of direct anticoagulants, in addition to the benefits of better safety, more favorable treatment ad­he­rence, and fixed dosing, the use of this class of drugs does not require laboratory mo­nitoring of efficacy, which may be of exp­licit benefit in terms of social distancing and health network burdens. This study reviews the possible interactions of drugs used for viral infection and anticoagulation, and in addition to the issues of coagulopathy associated with COVID-19, we discuss also the concerning difficulties of continued anticoagulant therapy related to the social distancing measures.]

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Fluoxetine use is associated with improved survival of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia: A retrospective case-control study

NÉMETH Klára Zsófia, SZÛCS Anna , VITRAI József , JUHÁSZ Dóra , NÉMETH Pál János , HOLLÓ András

We aimed to investigate the association between fluoxetine use and the survival of hospitalised coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia patients. This retrospective case-control study used data extracted from the medical records of adult patients hospitalised with moderate or severe COVID-19 pneumonia at the Uzsoki Teaching Hospital of the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary between 17 March and 22 April 2021. As a part of standard medical treatment, patients received anti-COVID-19 therapies as favipiravir, remdesivir, baricitinib or a combination of these drugs; and 110 of them received 20 mg fluoxetine capsules once daily as an adjuvant medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between fluoxetine use and mortality. For excluding a fluoxetine-selection bias potentially influencing our results, we compared baseline prognostic markers in the two groups treated versus not treated with fluoxetine. Out of the 269 participants, 205 (76.2%) survived and 64 (23.8%) died between days 2 and 28 after hospitalisation. Greater age (OR [95% CI] 1.08 [1.05–1.11], p<0.001), radiographic severity based on chest X-ray (OR [95% CI] 2.03 [1.27–3.25], p=0.003) and higher score of shortened National Early Warning Score (sNEWS) (OR [95% CI] 1.20 [1.01-1.43], p=0.04) were associated with higher mortality. Fluoxetine use was associated with an important (70%) decrease of mortality (OR [95% CI] 0.33 [0.16–0.68], p=0.002) compared to the non-fluoxetine group. Age, gender, LDH, CRP, and D-dimer levels, sNEWS, Chest X-ray score did not show statistical difference between the fluoxetine and non-fluoxetine groups supporting the reliability of our finding. Provisional to confirmation in randomised controlled studies, fluoxetine may be a potent treatment increasing the survival for COVID-19 pneumonia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Cases of inborn errors of metabolism diagnosed in children with autism

CAKAR Emel Nafiye, YILMAZBAS Pınar

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a heterogeneous presentation, the etiology of which is not clearly elucidated. In recent years, comorbidity has become more evident with the increase in the frequency of autism and diagnostic possibilities of inborn errors of metabolism. One hundred and seventy-nine patients with diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder who presented to the Pediatric Metabolism outpatient clinic between 01/September/2018-29/February/2020 constituted the study population. The personal information, routine and specific metabolic tests of the patients were analyzed retrospectively. Out of the 3261 patients who presented to our outpatient clinic, 179 (5.48%) were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and were included in the study. As a result of specific metabolic examinations performed, 6 (3.3%) patients were diagnosed with inborn errors of metabolism. Two of our patients were diagnosed with classical phenylketonuria, two with classical homocystinuria, one with mucopolysaccharidosis type 3D (Sanfilippo syndrome) and one with 3-methylchrotonyl Co-A carboxylase deficiency. Inborn errors of metabolism may rarely present with autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Careful evaluation of the history, physical examination and additional findings in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder will guide the clinician in the decision-making process and chose the appropriate specific metabolic investigation. An underlying inborn errors of metabolism may be a treatable cause of autism.

Clinical Neuroscience

Evaluation of the effectiveness of transforaminal epidural steroid injection in far lateral lumbar disc herniations

EVRAN Sevket, KATAR Salim

Far lateral lumbar disc herniations (FLDH) consist approximately 0.7-12% of all lumbar disc herniations. Compared to the more common central and paramedian lumbar disc herniations, they cause more severe and persistent radicular pain due to direct compression of the nerve root and dorsal root ganglion. In patients who do not respond to conservative treatments such as medical treatment and physical therapy, and have not developed neurological deficits, it is difficult to decide on surgical treatment because of the nerve root damage and spinal instability risk due to disruption of facet joint integrity. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) on the improvement of both pain control and functional capacity in patients with FLDH. A total of 37 patients who had radicular pain caused by far lateral disc herniation which is visible in their lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, had no neurological deficit and did not respond to conservative treatment, were included the study. TFESI was applied to patients by preganglionic approach. Pre-treatment Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores of the patients were compared with the 3rd week, 3rd month and 6th month scores after the procedure. The mean initial VAS score was 8.63 ± 0.55, while it was 3.84 ± 1.66, 5.09 ± 0.85, 4.56 ± 1.66 at the 3rd week, 3rd month and 6th month controls, respectively. This decrease in the VAS score was found statistically significant (p = 0.001). ODI score with baseline mean value of 52.38 ± 6.84 was found to be 18.56 ± 4.95 at the 3rd week, 37.41 ± 14.1 at the 3rd month and 34.88 ± 14.33 at the 6th month. This downtrend of pa­tient’s ODI scores was found statistically significant (p = 0.001). This study has demonstrated that TFESI is an effective method for gaining increased functional capacity and pain control in the treatment of patients who are not suitable for surgical treatment with radicular complaints due to far lateral lumbar disc hernia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Electrophysiological investigation for autonomic dysfunction in patients with myasthenia gravis: A prospective study

NALBANTOGLU Mecbure, AKALIN Ali Mehmet, GUNDUZ Aysegul, KIZILTAN Meral

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission. Autonomic dysfunction is not a commonly known association with MG. We conducted this study to evaluate autonomic functions in MG & subgroups and to investigate the effects of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. This study comprised 30 autoimmune MG patients and 30 healthy volunteers. Autonomic tests including sympathetic skin response (SSR) and R-R interval variation analysis (RRIV) was carried out. The tests were performed two times for patients who were under acetylcholinesterase inhibitors during the current assessment. The RRIV rise during hyperventilation was better (p=0.006) and Valsalva ratio (p=0.039) was lower in control group. The SSR amplitudes were lower thereafter drug intake (p=0.030). As much as time went by after drug administration prolonged SSR latencies were obtained (p=0.043).Valsalva ratio was lower in the AchR antibody negative group (p=0.033). The findings showed that both ocular/generalized MG patients have a subclinical parasympathetic abnormality prominent in the AchR antibody negative group and pyridostigmine has a peripheral sympathetic cholinergic noncumulative effect.

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Risk of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Focus on aceclofenac]

FARSANG Csaba

[Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most frequently used pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, a number of studies emphasized that NSAIDs were damaging not only the gastrointestinal (GI), but also the cardiovascular (CV) system, could increase the blood pressure, the frequency of coronary events (angina, myocardial infarction) and stroke incidence, as well as they might deterio­rate renal functions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) did not find evidence that administering NSAIDs could increase the risk of developing COVID-19 or worsened the condition of COVID-19 patients. However, unwanted effects of specific drugs differ substantially in their occurrence and seriousness as well. It seemed to be for a long time that the NSAIDs provoked higher GI-risk was closely related to the COX1/COX2 selectivity, like the cardiovascular (CV) risk to the COX2/COX1 selectivity, however, the recent data did not prove it clearly. Based on the available literature while pondering the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular adverse events, among all NSAIDs the aceclofenac profile seemed to be the most favourable.]