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1.  Insights and advances in chronic urticaria: a Canadian perspective 
In the past few years there have been significant advances which have changed the face of chronic urticaria. In this review, we aim to update physicians about clinically relevant advances in the classification, diagnosis and management of chronic urticaria that have occurred in recent years. These include clarification of the terminology used to describe and classify urticaria. We also detail the development and validation of instruments to assess urticaria and understand the impairment on quality-of-life and the morbidity caused by this disease. Additionally, the approach to management of chronic urticaria now focuses on evidence-based use of non-impairing, non-sedating H1-antihistamines given initially in standard doses and if this is not effective, in up to 4-fold doses. For urticaria refractory to H1-antihistamines, omalizumab treatment has emerged as an effective, safe option.
PMCID: PMC4336710  PMID: 25705232
Chronic urticaria; Diagnosis; Classification; Management; Immunology; Antihistamines; Up-dosing; Omalizumab
3.  Methotrexate-induced pulmonary toxicity 
Methotrexate is a widely used medication with an array of recognized side effects. The present report describes a case of methotrexate-induced pneumonitis in a patient with psoriasis, and demonstrates the hallmark clinical and investigational findings that support this infrequently encountered diagnosis. The ensuing discussion reviews the pathogenesis, management and prevention of this adverse drug reaction.
PMCID: PMC3814259  PMID: 23762881
Methotrexate; Pneumonitis; Pulmonary toxicity
4.  HLA-A*31:01 and HLA-B*15:02 as genetic markers for carbamazepine hypersensitivity in children 
Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics  2013;94(1):10.1038/clpt.2013.55.
The occurrence of hypersensitivity reactions including rare but life-threatening Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome (HSS) limits the use of the anticonvulsant carbamazepine (CBZ). HLA-B*15:02 and HLA-A*31:01 have been identified as predictive genetic markers for CBZ hypersensitivity in Asian and European patients. To replicate these genetic associations in pediatric patients from North America with a diverse ethnic background, we investigated HLA-A*31:01 and HLA-B*15:02 in 42 children with CBZ hypersensitivity, and 91 CBZ-tolerant children from across Canada. HLA-A*31:01 was significantly associated with CBZ-HSS (odds ratio (OR): 26.4, p=0.0025) and maculopapular exanthems (OR: 8.6, p=0.0037), but not with CBZ-SJS. Conversely, HLA-B*15:02 was associated with CBZ-SJS (OR: 38.6, p=0.002), but not HSS and maculopapular exanthems. This study is the first to demonstrate the association of HLA-A*31:01 with CBZ hypersensitivity in children, providing important replication of this association and highlighting the importance of HLA-A*31:01 as a predictive biomarker across various ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3839910  PMID: 23588310 CAMSID: cams3420
HLA-A*31:01; HLA-B*15:02; HLA; carbamazepine; drug hypersensitivity; Stevens-Johnson syndrome; toxic epidermal necrolysis; rash; adverse drug reaction; pharmacogenetics
5.  Wells syndrome (eosinophilic cellulitis): Proposed diagnostic criteria and a literature review of the drug-induced variant 
Wells syndrome is an uncommon inflammatory dermatosis first described in 1971 by Wells. The clinical eruption is characterized by varying morphology and severity and usually follows a relapsing remitting course. The majority of the reported cases are of unknown etiology, drug induced Wells syndrome has rarely been reported. A literature search using MEDLINE was performed. We recorded the features of our case and of the additional cases of drug induced Wells syndrome in the literature.
Main observations
Including our case there are 25 cases of drug-induced Wells syndrome reported. Causative drugs include antibiotics, anticholinergic agents, anaesthetics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, thyroid medications, chemotherapeutic agents, thiomersal containing vaccinations, anti-tumor necrosis factor agents and thiazide diuretics.
To the authors knowledge this is the first reported case of drug-induced Wells syndrome from thiazide diuretics. The diagnosis of Wells syndrome is often controversial and we propose a set of diagnostic criteria.
PMCID: PMC3888780  PMID: 24421864
antibiotics; aliskiren; drug-induced; drug reaction; diuretic; eosinophilia; etanercept; hydrochlorothiazide; hypertension; penicillin
6.  Isotretinoin Use and the Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
Limited evidence suggests that isotretinoin may be associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). To explore this association, we conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study in British Columbia, Canada, among participants who were newly treated with isotretinoin or topical acne medications. The entire population of untreated provincial residents aged 12–29 years served as the reference group. During the 12-year study period, we identified 46,922 participants treated with isotretinoin, 184,824 treated with a topical acne medication, and 1,526,946 untreated individuals. Compared with untreated individuals, we observed no significant association between isotretinoin use and IBD (rate ratio (RR) 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92–1.41). As expected, we found no association with topical acne medications (RR 1.11; 95% CI 0.99–1.24). In prespecified secondary analyses, isotretinoin was associated with IBD among individuals aged 12–19 years (RR 1.39; 95% CI 1.03–1.87) and topical acne medications were associated with ulcerative colitis (RR 1.19; 95% CI 1.00–1.42). Our primary analyses found no association between isotretinoin and IBD. In prespecified secondary analyses, some evidence was found of associations with isotretinoin as well as topical acne medications, suggesting a possible association between IBD and acne itself. Additional research is needed to explore this possibility.
PMCID: PMC3728031  PMID: 23096714 CAMSID: cams3226
7.  Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of vitilgo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial 
Vitiligo is a common hypopigmentation disorder with significant psychological impact if occurring before adulthood. A pilot clinical trial to determine the feasibility of an RCT was conducted and is reported here.
12 participants 12 to 35 years old were recruited to a prospective open-label pilot trial and treated with 60 mg of standardized G. biloba two times per day for 12 weeks. The criteria for feasibility included successful recruitment, 75% or greater retention, effectiveness and lack of serious adverse reactions. Effectiveness was assessed using the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) and the Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF), which are validated outcome measures evaluating the area and intensity of depigmentation of vitiligo lesions. Other outcomes included photographs and adverse reactions. Safety was assessed by serum coagulation factors (platelets, PTT, INR) at baseline and week 12.
After 2 months of recruitment, the eligible upper age limit was raised from 18 to 35 years of age in order to facilitate recruitment of the required sample size. Eleven participants completed the trial with 85% or greater adherence to the protocol. The total VASI score improved by 0.5 (P = 0.021) from 5.0 to 4.5, range of scale 0 (no depigmentation) to 100 (completely depigmented). The progression of vitiligo stopped in all participants; the total VASI indicated an average repigmentation of vitiligo lesions of 15%. VETF total vitiligo lesion area decreased 0.4% (P = 0.102) from 5.9 to 5.6 from baseline to week 12. VETF staging score improved by 0.7 (P = 0.101) from 6.6 to 5.8, and the VETF spreading score improved by 3.9 (P < 0.001)) from 2.7 to -1.2. There were no statistically significant changes in platelet count, PTT, or INR.
The criteria for feasibility were met after increasing the maximum age limit of the successful recruitment criterion; participant retention, safety and effectiveness criteria were also met. Ingestion of 60 mg of Ginkgo biloba BID was associated with a significant improvement in total VASI vitiligo measures and VETF spread, and a trend towards improvement on VETF measures of vitiligo lesion area and staging. Larger, randomized double-blind clinical studies are warranted and appear feasible.
Trial Registration
Clinical registration number NCT00907062
PMCID: PMC3065445  PMID: 21406109
8.  Impact of efalizumab on patient-reported outcomes in high-need psoriasis patients: results of the international, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase III Clinical Experience Acquired with Raptiva (CLEAR) trial [NCT00256139] 
BMC Dermatology  2005;5:13.
Chronic psoriasis can negatively affect patients' lives. Assessing the impact of treatment on different aspects of a patient's health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is therefore important and relevant in trials of anti-psoriasis agents. The recombinant humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody efalizumab targets multiple T-cell-dependent steps in the immunopathogenesis of psoriasis. Efalizumab has demonstrated safety and efficacy in several clinical trials, and improves patients' quality of life. Objective: To evaluate the impact of efalizumab on HRQOL and other patient-reported outcomes in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, including a large cohort of High-Need patients for whom at least 2 other systemic therapies were unsuitable because of lack of efficacy, intolerance, or contraindication.
A total of 793 patients were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive efalizumab 1 mg/kg/wk (n = 529) or placebo (n = 264) for 12 weeks. The study population included 526 High-Need patients (342 efalizumab, 184 placebo). The treatment was evaluated by patients using the HRQOL assessment tools Short Form-36 (SF-36) and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). Other patient-reported assessments included the Psoriasis Symptom Assessment (PSA), a visual analog scale (VAS) for itching, and the Patient's Global Psoriasis Assessment (PGPA).
Efalizumab was associated with improvements at Week 12 from baseline in patient-reported outcomes, both in the total study population and in the High-Need cohort. Among all efalizumab-treated patients, the DLQI improved by 5.7 points from baseline to Week 12, relative to an improvement of 2.3 points for placebo patients (P < .001). Corresponding improvements in DLQI in the High-Need cohort were 5.4 points for efalizumab compared to 2.3 for placebo (P < .001). Improvements from baseline on the SF-36, PSA, PGPA, and itching VAS at Week 12 were also significantly greater in efalizumab-treated patients than for placebo.
A 12-week course of efalizumab improved HRQOL and other patient-reported outcomes in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The benefits of efalizumab therapy in High-Need patients were similar to those observed in the total study population, indicating that the beneficial impact of efalizumab on QOL is consistent regardless of disease severity, prior therapy, or contraindications to previous therapies.
PMCID: PMC1343580  PMID: 16359548
10.  Psoriasis and the new biologic agents: interrupting a T-AP dance 
PSORIASIS IS AN IMMUNE-MEDIATED SKIN DISEASE in which chronic T-cell stimulation by antigen-presenting cells (APC) occurs in the skin. This interplay between the T-cell and APC has been likened to a “T-AP dance” where specific steps must occur in sequence to result in T-cell activation and the disease phenotype; otherwise T-cell anergy would occur. Several novel engineered proteins designed to block specific steps in immune activation (biologic agents) have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of psoriasis. These agents include fusion proteins, monoclonal antibodies and recombinant cytokines. These medications act at specific steps during the T-AP dance either to inhibit T-cell activation, costimulation and subsequent proliferation of T-cells, lead to immune deviation or induce specific cytokine blockades. The potential increased selectivity for specific pathways in immune activation, clinical efficacy and relative safety of these new agents offers an alternative for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis.
PMCID: PMC421723  PMID: 15210644
11.  Generic isotretinoin: a new risk for unborn children 
PMCID: PMC400722  PMID: 15136551
12.  Serum sickness-like reaction associated with clopidogrel 
PMCID: PMC1884383  PMID: 14651737
13.  Principles of influence 
PMCID: PMC122011  PMID: 12358189
17.  Camouflage Cosmetics in Dermatologic Therapy 
Canadian Family Physician  1987;33:2343-2346.
Psychological well-being is based on multiple factors, one of which is satisfaction with physical appearance. The use of cosmetics is helpful for many women, as has been shown in psychological studies and implied by market sales. People with obvious cutaneous defects (e.g., port-wine stains, pigmentary disorders) may suffer a range of distress reactions, including diminished self-esteem. Specially designed camouflage cosmetics are an ideal adjunct to other therapies for successful treatment of such skin conditions. New products are appealing because they are readily available, safe, and inexpensive. To enjoy optimum use of these products, patients should be assessed and advised in a professional setting. The results are extremely gratifying for both patients and physicians.
PMCID: PMC2218559  PMID: 21263958
dermatology; cosmetics; camouflage

Results 1-18 (18)