Tools for Practice

Tools for Practice articles have been produced by the PEER team in collaboration with the ACFP since 2009.
Click here for the entire collection

Recent Tools for Practice

Tools for Practice #277 – Somethin’ Fishy: Prescription variants of Omega-3 to prevent cardiovascular disease

Do prescription variants of omega-3’s, like icosapent, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events when added to statins?

Bottom Line: In high risk patients, icosapent reduced cardiovascular events to 17% from 22% on placebo after 5 years. In lower risk patients, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) ethyl ester reduced major cardiovascular events to 2.8% from 3.5% with control after 5 years. Whether these products differ from each other or traditional omega-3 fatty acids (that don’t show cardiovascular benefit) is unknown. Cost will likely limit use. Read More

Tools for Practice #276 – Glucosamine & Chondroitin: Natural remedies for osteoarthritis?

Does glucosamine and/or chondroitin improve pain for patients with osteoarthritis?

Bottom Line: Glucosamine and chondroitin do not appear to be effective in higher-quality, larger and/or publicly funded studies. If studies at high risk of bias are included, at best ~10% more people will have meaningful reduction in pain with either treatment over 35-45% of people with placebo. There is reason to doubt the effectiveness of either treatments. Read More

Tools for Practice #275 – A good sleep would be dop(aminergic) doc! Pramipexole in restless legs syndrome

Is pramipexole effective for the treatment of restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

Bottom Line: Systematic review of twelve randomized controlled trials demonstrates 63% of patients using pramipexole report feeling much or very much better compared to 41% on placebo over 3-26 weeks. Lower doses (example 0.25/0.5mg) may have equivalent efficacy to higher doses with less risk of augmentation (paradoxical worsening of symptoms with treatment), although up to ~40% of patients may experience augmentation after 1 year. Read More

Tools for Practice #274 – Making your head spin: Betahistine for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

Is betahistine effective for adults with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)?

Bottom Line: When used alone without repositioning maneuvers (i.e. Epley maneuver), limited data suggest more patients have “improved” dizziness with betahistine compared to placebo (75% versus 52% placebo at 3 months). However, betahistine is less effective than Epley. Whether betahistine is effective for residual dizziness post-Epley is uncertain. At best, 44% of patients compared to 21% on placebo will “improve”. Read More

Tools for Practice #273 – Virtual visits versus face-to-face: Diagnostic accuracy in primary care

What is the diagnostic accuracy of primary care physicians performing virtual visits compared to in-person visits for undifferentiated presentations?

Bottom Line: Based on limited, lower-level evidence, diagnostic accuracy of virtual visits was between 71-91%, measured using standardized patients or case review at 3 months. Diagnostic accuracy/agreement of virtual care seems similar to in-person visits. These studies do not address continuity of care or patient outcomes. Read More

PEER Picks

#255 – Exercise for osteoarthritis pain: how strong is the evidence?

Is exercise effective for pain management in hip/knee osteoarthritis?

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#250 – DPP-4 inhibitor update: Thousands studied but still no evidence of clinical benefits

In type 2 diabetes, do dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors improve patient-oriented outcomes like cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

Read More

#238 – In COPD puffers, does three-of-kind beat a pair?

In Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients on Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonist (LAMA) and Long-Acting Beta-Agonist (LABA) dual therapy, does adding inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) improve outcomes?

Read More

Tools for Practice by Catagory

Anesthesiology

(3)

#244 – Injecting Evidence into Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections

Bottom Line: The best quality evidence shows no difference in pain, function, or return to sport between platelet-rich plasma, dry needling, or saline for patients with Achilles tendinopathy, lateral epicondylitis, or rotator cuff tendinopathy.

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#243 – Spread the Word: Widespread Distribution of Naloxone to Decrease Opioid-Related Deaths

Bottom Line: Offering naloxone kits and overdose related education for people who use opioids and their community may decrease opioid related deaths by ~7 per 100,000 population over one year. Effectiveness is likely influenced by magnitude of opioid problem in a given community and other confounders (like co-ingestions, co-morbidities, type and dose of opioid used).

Read Tool

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

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Cardiology

(10)

#277 – Somethin’ Fishy: Prescription variants of Omega-3 to prevent cardiovascular disease

Bottom Line: In high risk patients, icosapent reduced cardiovascular events to 17% from 22% on placebo after 5 years. In lower risk patients, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) ethyl ester reduced major cardiovascular events to 2.8% from 3.5% with control after 5 years. Whether these products differ from each other or traditional omega-3 fatty acids (that don’t show cardiovascular benefit) is unknown. Cost will likely limit use.

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#271 – Be still my quivering heart: alcohol and atrial fibrillation

Bottom Line: Observational studies consistently report a doseresponse association between alcohol and new onset atrial fibrillation. Based on 1 randomized controlled trial (RCT) of “regular drinkers” with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, recurrence of atrial fibrillation happened in ~50% who abstain compared to ~70% who continue drinking. Abstaining can prevent 1 atrial fibrillation-related hospital visit for every 9 people compared to those who continue to drink at 6 months.

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#264 – From theory to reality: ACEi, ARB, and COVID-19

Bottom Line: Despite initial theoretical suggestions that ACEi and ARB are harmful, four observational studies have since found no association between COVID-19 infection or severity of disease and ACEi/ARB. One cohort study with the smallest number of COVID-19 patients found an association between ACEi, ARB and hospitalization but not mechanical ventilation. All studies have limitations associated with observational studies including potential confounders and bias which require imperfect statistical adjustments.

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#262 – Who let the Gout Out? Targeting Uric Acid Levels in Treating Gout

Bottom Line: Best evidence finds that increasing doses of allopurinol to achieve a specific serum urate target (example <360 μmol/L) does not reduce gout flares, pain, or function, compared to standard allopurinol dosing. Febuxostat increases cardiovascular and overall mortality and should not be used in most patients with gout.

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#258 – Stealth style transmission? Covert data on COVID-19

Bottom Line: Transmission of COVID-19 can occur in people who are currently asymptomatic. Case reports suggest this occurs in 6-13% of cases, although modelling suggests this might be higher. The importance of asymptomatic transmission is heightened by reports that ~50% of carriers are asymptomatic when an entire population (example cruise ship) is tested. Physical distancing should assist in preventing transmission from asymptomatic individuals.

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Chronic Pain

(6)

#276 – Glucosamine & Chondroitin: Natural remedies for osteoarthritis?

Bottom Line: Glucosamine and chondroitin do not appear to be effective in higher-quality, larger and/or publicly funded studies. If studies at high risk of bias are included, at best ~10% more people will have meaningful reduction in pain with either treatment over 35-45% of people with placebo. There is reason to doubt the effectiveness of either treatments.

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#269 – Osteoarthritis pain getting you down? Duloxetine

Bottom Line: Duloxetine can meaningfully reduce osteoarthritis pain scores (by at least 30%) for ~60% of patients compared to ~40% on placebo. An average pain of ~6 (scale 0-10) will be reduced by ~2.5 points, compared to 1.7 on placebo. Duloxetine adverse effects lead to withdrawal in 12% of patients versus 6% on placebo. 

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#266 – Exercise-induced osteoarthritis: Running into problems?

Bottom Line: Based on low-quality observational data, running likely does not increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis, except possibly in elite athletes. Additionally, recreational running may be associated with lowering the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for reducing osteoarthritic pain.

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#244 – Injecting Evidence into Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections

Bottom Line: The best quality evidence shows no difference in pain, function, or return to sport between platelet-rich plasma, dry needling, or saline for patients with Achilles tendinopathy, lateral epicondylitis, or rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Read Tool

#243 – Spread the Word: Widespread Distribution of Naloxone to Decrease Opioid-Related Deaths

Bottom Line: Offering naloxone kits and overdose related education for people who use opioids and their community may decrease opioid related deaths by ~7 per 100,000 population over one year. Effectiveness is likely influenced by magnitude of opioid problem in a given community and other confounders (like co-ingestions, co-morbidities, type and dose of opioid used).

Read Tool
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Dermatology

(4)

#272 – Putting the FUN in fungi (Part 2): Topical management of tinea pedis

Bottom Line: Tinea pedis is successfully treated with topical antifungals in 70-75% of patients compared to 20-30% using placebo. Tea tree oil is likely ineffective. Topical terbinafine may result in an absolute improvement of 2-8% more patients cured over other topicals. The majority of patients were treated for 1 week with terbinafine and 4-6 weeks with azoles (like clotrimazole).

Read Tool

#248 – Hydrochlorothiazide and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Remember when hypertension was easy?

Bottom Line: Observational data suggest an association between hydrochlorothiazide and the risk of SCC. Causation has not been proven. Risk appears to consistently increase with dose and duration (example: 5 years of use increases risk 3-4 times). Baseline incidence of SCC is <0.1% annually. The same risk has not been established with thiazide-like diuretics (like indapamide or chlorthalidone). The benefit of switching from hydrochlorothiazide to another agent should be weighed against the risk of changing medications.

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#242 – Putting the FUN in Fungi: Toenail onychomycosis treatments

Bottom Line: Up to 45-60% of patients on oral treatments (terbinafine best), 6-23% on topicals (efinaconazole best), and <10% on placebo will be “cured” after ~1 year. Topicals should be reserved for cases with minimal (≤20-40%) nail involvement.

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#241 – “Who’s the fairest of them all?”: Topical treatments for rosacea

Bottom Line: For moderate-severe papulopustular rosacea, topical metronidazole, azelaic acid, and ivermectin have similar benefit with ~65-75% achieving patient reported improvement

Read Tool
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Emergency

(13)

#271 – Be still my quivering heart: alcohol and atrial fibrillation

Bottom Line: Observational studies consistently report a doseresponse association between alcohol and new onset atrial fibrillation. Based on 1 randomized controlled trial (RCT) of “regular drinkers” with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, recurrence of atrial fibrillation happened in ~50% who abstain compared to ~70% who continue drinking. Abstaining can prevent 1 atrial fibrillation-related hospital visit for every 9 people compared to those who continue to drink at 6 months.

Read Tool

#267 – Serology, Serology: How Accurate and Prevalent Art Thou?

Bottom Line: IgM and IgG antibodies may reveal an individual's recent (after ~2 weeks) exposure to COVID-19. How long serology remains positive and whether antibodies confer immunity to subsequent infection is unknown. Many different tests exist, each with different accuracy. Current evidence does not support routine use of serology testing in COVID-19 management.   

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#264 – From theory to reality: ACEi, ARB, and COVID-19

Bottom Line: Despite initial theoretical suggestions that ACEi and ARB are harmful, four observational studies have since found no association between COVID-19 infection or severity of disease and ACEi/ARB. One cohort study with the smallest number of COVID-19 patients found an association between ACEi, ARB and hospitalization but not mechanical ventilation. All studies have limitations associated with observational studies including potential confounders and bias which require imperfect statistical adjustments.

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#263 – Finding COVID – How Good is the Test to Detect it?

Bottom Line: If the PCR COVID-19 test is positive you have COVID-19 (specificity ~100%). Small Canadian studies suggest the test will detect COVID-19 ~80-90% of the time (sensitivity), although estimates range from ~50%-90%. Collection technique, anatomical sample and timing of collection influence these numbers. The chance of a false negative depends on sensitivity and the pre-test probability the person has COVID-19. Example: someone with abnormal chest x-rays and close COVID-19 positive contacts has a higher risk of false negatives than someone who is asymptomatic.     

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#261 – Antivirals for COVID-19

Bottom Line: To date, published RCTs have not demonstrated benefit of treating COVID-19 patients with remdesivir, lopinavir-ritonavir or oseltamivir.  There are signals of potential benefits from one interim analysis of remdesivir and non-statistically different results, but more research is needed. Full publication of studies and ongoing trials will help to answer this question.    

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Endocrinology

(3)

#247 – Fact or Fad: Intermittent fasting for sustained weight loss

Bottom Line: Although inconsistently defined, intermittent fasting (example 500 kcal/day for 2 days/week) and continuous dieting (~25% reduction in caloric intake daily) result in similar weight loss, usually ~5-9kg at 6 months-1 year. Discontinuation rates with both diets is up to ~60%.

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#245 – Taking a hard look at the evidence: Phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors in erectile dysfunction

Bottom Line: PDE5 inhibitors increase the proportion of successful sexual intercourse attempts to ~65% versus ~30% for placebo. For every 3 men given a PDE5 inhibitor compared to placebo, an additional 1 will have “improved erections”.

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#239 – Need milk? Domperidone for increasing breast milk supply

Bottom Line: In mothers of pre-term infants, domperidone increases milk volume by ~90 ml more than placebo after 14 days, with an additional 1 in 5 women experiencing a 50% increase in milk supply. Doses above 30 mg/day are likely not needed and may increase the risk of arrhythmias. Optimal length of treatment unknown.

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Gastroenterology

(3)

#268 – Is 45 really the new 50 in colorectal cancer screening?

In developed countries, the incidence of colorectal cancer in persons under 50 years old has increased by 20-30% in the last 20 years. However, the absolute risk increase is only 1-4 per 100,000 persons. Screening average risk patients under age 50 should not be encouraged at this time.

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#247 – Fact or Fad: Intermittent fasting for sustained weight loss

Bottom Line: Although inconsistently defined, intermittent fasting (example 500 kcal/day for 2 days/week) and continuous dieting (~25% reduction in caloric intake daily) result in similar weight loss, usually ~5-9kg at 6 months-1 year. Discontinuation rates with both diets is up to ~60%.

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#236 – It’s all in the details… or is it? Biosimilars versus biologics for inflammatory conditions

Bottom Line: For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory arthropathies, or inflammatory bowel disease, biosimilars and biologics have similar clinical outcomes and adverse events. Given the cost differences, starting patients with or switching to biosimilars should be encouraged.

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General

(34)

#277 – Somethin’ Fishy: Prescription variants of Omega-3 to prevent cardiovascular disease

Bottom Line: In high risk patients, icosapent reduced cardiovascular events to 17% from 22% on placebo after 5 years. In lower risk patients, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) ethyl ester reduced major cardiovascular events to 2.8% from 3.5% with control after 5 years. Whether these products differ from each other or traditional omega-3 fatty acids (that don’t show cardiovascular benefit) is unknown. Cost will likely limit use.

Read Tool

#276 – Glucosamine & Chondroitin: Natural remedies for osteoarthritis?

Bottom Line: Glucosamine and chondroitin do not appear to be effective in higher-quality, larger and/or publicly funded studies. If studies at high risk of bias are included, at best ~10% more people will have meaningful reduction in pain with either treatment over 35-45% of people with placebo. There is reason to doubt the effectiveness of either treatments.

Read Tool

#275 – A good sleep would be dop(aminergic) doc! Pramipexole in restless legs syndrome

Bottom Line: Systematic review of twelve randomized controlled trials demonstrates 63% of patients using pramipexole report feeling much or very much better compared to 41% on placebo over 3-26 weeks. Lower doses (example 0.25/0.5mg) may have equivalent efficacy to higher doses with less risk of augmentation (paradoxical worsening of symptoms with treatment), although up to ~40% of patients may experience augmentation after 1 year.

Read Tool

#273 – Virtual visits versus face-to-face: Diagnostic accuracy in primary care

Bottom Line: Based on limited, lower-level evidence, diagnostic accuracy of virtual visits was between 71-91%, measured using standardized patients or case review at 3 months. Diagnostic accuracy/agreement of virtual care seems similar to in-person visits. These studies do not address continuity of care or patient outcomes.

Read Tool

#272 – Putting the FUN in fungi (Part 2): Topical management of tinea pedis

Bottom Line: Tinea pedis is successfully treated with topical antifungals in 70-75% of patients compared to 20-30% using placebo. Tea tree oil is likely ineffective. Topical terbinafine may result in an absolute improvement of 2-8% more patients cured over other topicals. The majority of patients were treated for 1 week with terbinafine and 4-6 weeks with azoles (like clotrimazole).

Read Tool
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  • 7

General Surgery

(3)

#273 – Virtual visits versus face-to-face: Diagnostic accuracy in primary care

Bottom Line: Based on limited, lower-level evidence, diagnostic accuracy of virtual visits was between 71-91%, measured using standardized patients or case review at 3 months. Diagnostic accuracy/agreement of virtual care seems similar to in-person visits. These studies do not address continuity of care or patient outcomes.

Read Tool

#248 – Hydrochlorothiazide and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Remember when hypertension was easy?

Bottom Line: Observational data suggest an association between hydrochlorothiazide and the risk of SCC. Causation has not been proven. Risk appears to consistently increase with dose and duration (example: 5 years of use increases risk 3-4 times). Baseline incidence of SCC is <0.1% annually. The same risk has not been established with thiazide-like diuretics (like indapamide or chlorthalidone). The benefit of switching from hydrochlorothiazide to another agent should be weighed against the risk of changing medications.

Read Tool

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

Read Tool
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Geriatrics

(2)

#275 – A good sleep would be dop(aminergic) doc! Pramipexole in restless legs syndrome

Bottom Line: Systematic review of twelve randomized controlled trials demonstrates 63% of patients using pramipexole report feeling much or very much better compared to 41% on placebo over 3-26 weeks. Lower doses (example 0.25/0.5mg) may have equivalent efficacy to higher doses with less risk of augmentation (paradoxical worsening of symptoms with treatment), although up to ~40% of patients may experience augmentation after 1 year.

Read Tool

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

Read Tool
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Hematology

(2)

#242 – Putting the FUN in Fungi: Toenail onychomycosis treatments

Bottom Line: Up to 45-60% of patients on oral treatments (terbinafine best), 6-23% on topicals (efinaconazole best), and <10% on placebo will be “cured” after ~1 year. Topicals should be reserved for cases with minimal (≤20-40%) nail involvement.

Read Tool

#241 – “Who’s the fairest of them all?”: Topical treatments for rosacea

Bottom Line: For moderate-severe papulopustular rosacea, topical metronidazole, azelaic acid, and ivermectin have similar benefit with ~65-75% achieving patient reported improvement

Read Tool
  • Page
  • 1
  • of
  • 1

Infectious Disease

(12)

#272 – Putting the FUN in fungi (Part 2): Topical management of tinea pedis

Bottom Line: Tinea pedis is successfully treated with topical antifungals in 70-75% of patients compared to 20-30% using placebo. Tea tree oil is likely ineffective. Topical terbinafine may result in an absolute improvement of 2-8% more patients cured over other topicals. The majority of patients were treated for 1 week with terbinafine and 4-6 weeks with azoles (like clotrimazole).

Read Tool

#270 – Burning Evidence for Fosfomycin in Cystitis

Bottom Line: At best, single dose fosfomycin has similar efficacy to other antibiotics for uncomplicated cystitis. However, the best quality, publicly funded trial showed it was not as efficacious as nitrofurantoin, with 58% of cases clinically resolving at 28 days compared to 70% for nitrofurantoin.

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#267 – Serology, Serology: How Accurate and Prevalent Art Thou?

Bottom Line: IgM and IgG antibodies may reveal an individual's recent (after ~2 weeks) exposure to COVID-19. How long serology remains positive and whether antibodies confer immunity to subsequent infection is unknown. Many different tests exist, each with different accuracy. Current evidence does not support routine use of serology testing in COVID-19 management.   

Read Tool

#264 – From theory to reality: ACEi, ARB, and COVID-19

Bottom Line: Despite initial theoretical suggestions that ACEi and ARB are harmful, four observational studies have since found no association between COVID-19 infection or severity of disease and ACEi/ARB. One cohort study with the smallest number of COVID-19 patients found an association between ACEi, ARB and hospitalization but not mechanical ventilation. All studies have limitations associated with observational studies including potential confounders and bias which require imperfect statistical adjustments.

Read Tool

#263 – Finding COVID – How Good is the Test to Detect it?

Bottom Line: If the PCR COVID-19 test is positive you have COVID-19 (specificity ~100%). Small Canadian studies suggest the test will detect COVID-19 ~80-90% of the time (sensitivity), although estimates range from ~50%-90%. Collection technique, anatomical sample and timing of collection influence these numbers. The chance of a false negative depends on sensitivity and the pre-test probability the person has COVID-19. Example: someone with abnormal chest x-rays and close COVID-19 positive contacts has a higher risk of false negatives than someone who is asymptomatic.     

Read Tool
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Neurology

(2)

#275 – A good sleep would be dop(aminergic) doc! Pramipexole in restless legs syndrome

Bottom Line: Systematic review of twelve randomized controlled trials demonstrates 63% of patients using pramipexole report feeling much or very much better compared to 41% on placebo over 3-26 weeks. Lower doses (example 0.25/0.5mg) may have equivalent efficacy to higher doses with less risk of augmentation (paradoxical worsening of symptoms with treatment), although up to ~40% of patients may experience augmentation after 1 year.

Read Tool

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

Read Tool
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Obstetrics-Gynecology

(2)

#238 – In COPD puffers, does three-of-kind beat a pair?

Bottom Line: In COPD patients with ≥1 exacerbation per year, triple therapy reduces the risk of having ≥1 exacerbations/year compared to LAMA/LABA dual therapy (one less patient for every 36) but increases the risk of pneumonia (one more patient for every 34) and costs. It is possible that higher blood eosinophil counts (>150-300 cells/µL) may help target adding ICS.

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#237 – Verifying the Value of Vaginal Estradiol Tablets

Bottom Line: Vaginal estradiol tablets are likely no better than placebo vaginal gel for reducing “most bothersome symptom scores” (mainly dyspareunia). However, compared to placebo vaginal tablets, they reduce symptoms (example: treatment “success” at 12 months in 86% versus 41% placebo). A non-medicated vaginal gel may be reasonable first-line for dyspareunia.

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Oncology

(2)

#268 – Is 45 really the new 50 in colorectal cancer screening?

In developed countries, the incidence of colorectal cancer in persons under 50 years old has increased by 20-30% in the last 20 years. However, the absolute risk increase is only 1-4 per 100,000 persons. Screening average risk patients under age 50 should not be encouraged at this time.

Read Tool

#248 – Hydrochlorothiazide and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer: Remember when hypertension was easy?

Bottom Line: Observational data suggest an association between hydrochlorothiazide and the risk of SCC. Causation has not been proven. Risk appears to consistently increase with dose and duration (example: 5 years of use increases risk 3-4 times). Baseline incidence of SCC is <0.1% annually. The same risk has not been established with thiazide-like diuretics (like indapamide or chlorthalidone). The benefit of switching from hydrochlorothiazide to another agent should be weighed against the risk of changing medications.

Read Tool
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Orthopedics

(1)

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

Read Tool
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Pediatrics

(2)

#265 – “Does baby know best?”: Benefits and harms of baby-led weaning for transitioning to solid foods

Bottom Line: Transitioning infants to solid foods using a baby-led weaning approach (with parental education) results in up to 0.7kg less weight gain at 12 months than traditional spoon feeding. This is of unknown clinical significance. There is no difference in iron intake or choking episodes.

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#239 – Need milk? Domperidone for increasing breast milk supply

Bottom Line: In mothers of pre-term infants, domperidone increases milk volume by ~90 ml more than placebo after 14 days, with an additional 1 in 5 women experiencing a 50% increase in milk supply. Doses above 30 mg/day are likely not needed and may increase the risk of arrhythmias. Optimal length of treatment unknown.

Read Tool
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Psychiatry

(3)

#271 – Be still my quivering heart: alcohol and atrial fibrillation

Bottom Line: Observational studies consistently report a doseresponse association between alcohol and new onset atrial fibrillation. Based on 1 randomized controlled trial (RCT) of “regular drinkers” with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, recurrence of atrial fibrillation happened in ~50% who abstain compared to ~70% who continue drinking. Abstaining can prevent 1 atrial fibrillation-related hospital visit for every 9 people compared to those who continue to drink at 6 months.

Read Tool

#243 – Spread the Word: Widespread Distribution of Naloxone to Decrease Opioid-Related Deaths

Bottom Line: Offering naloxone kits and overdose related education for people who use opioids and their community may decrease opioid related deaths by ~7 per 100,000 population over one year. Effectiveness is likely influenced by magnitude of opioid problem in a given community and other confounders (like co-ingestions, co-morbidities, type and dose of opioid used).

Read Tool

#240 – What is the Incidence of Iatrogenic Opioid Use Disorder?

Bottom Line: The incidence of OUD associated with prescribed opioids among chronic pain patients is likely ~3% (over ~2 years) but causation is uncertain. Patients with no history of substance use disorders appear to be at lower risk (<1%). Factors associated with increased risk of OUD include a history of substance use disorder and receiving opioids for longer duration (>90 days) or at higher doses (>120mg/day morphine equivalent).

Read Tool
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Pulmonology

(7)

#264 – From theory to reality: ACEi, ARB, and COVID-19

Bottom Line: Despite initial theoretical suggestions that ACEi and ARB are harmful, four observational studies have since found no association between COVID-19 infection or severity of disease and ACEi/ARB. One cohort study with the smallest number of COVID-19 patients found an association between ACEi, ARB and hospitalization but not mechanical ventilation. All studies have limitations associated with observational studies including potential confounders and bias which require imperfect statistical adjustments.

Read Tool

#263 – Finding COVID – How Good is the Test to Detect it?

Bottom Line: If the PCR COVID-19 test is positive you have COVID-19 (specificity ~100%). Small Canadian studies suggest the test will detect COVID-19 ~80-90% of the time (sensitivity), although estimates range from ~50%-90%. Collection technique, anatomical sample and timing of collection influence these numbers. The chance of a false negative depends on sensitivity and the pre-test probability the person has COVID-19. Example: someone with abnormal chest x-rays and close COVID-19 positive contacts has a higher risk of false negatives than someone who is asymptomatic.     

Read Tool

#261 – Antivirals for COVID-19

Bottom Line: To date, published RCTs have not demonstrated benefit of treating COVID-19 patients with remdesivir, lopinavir-ritonavir or oseltamivir.  There are signals of potential benefits from one interim analysis of remdesivir and non-statistically different results, but more research is needed. Full publication of studies and ongoing trials will help to answer this question.    

Read Tool

#260 – Are there tools to help assess dyspnea virtually?

Bottom Line: Unfortunately, no specific technique, including the Roth Score, is reliable in assuring dyspneic patients are not at risk and safe to stay home. Furthermore, no studies have evaluated dyspnea assessment in COVID-19 patients. Clinicians are encouraged to use available tools (https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1182/infographic) and have patients assessed in-person if there are any concerns. 

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#259 – Unmasking the evidence around masks for healthcare workers

Bottom Line: In healthcare workers;

  • Surgical masks and respirators (N95) appear to provide similar protection against viral infections, with N95 masks having slightly lower, but not statistically different, infection rates in the wearer (~1-2%). 
  • Cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks (with ~2% more respiratory infections in 4 weeks).
  • No randomized controlled trials examined transmission from healthcare workers to others and none examined COVID-19.
  • Masks are just one-part of Personal Protective Equipment and transmission precautions.  

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Rheumatology

(7)

#276 – Glucosamine & Chondroitin: Natural remedies for osteoarthritis?

Bottom Line: Glucosamine and chondroitin do not appear to be effective in higher-quality, larger and/or publicly funded studies. If studies at high risk of bias are included, at best ~10% more people will have meaningful reduction in pain with either treatment over 35-45% of people with placebo. There is reason to doubt the effectiveness of either treatments.

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#269 – Osteoarthritis pain getting you down? Duloxetine

Bottom Line: Duloxetine can meaningfully reduce osteoarthritis pain scores (by at least 30%) for ~60% of patients compared to ~40% on placebo. An average pain of ~6 (scale 0-10) will be reduced by ~2.5 points, compared to 1.7 on placebo. Duloxetine adverse effects lead to withdrawal in 12% of patients versus 6% on placebo. 

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#266 – Exercise-induced osteoarthritis: Running into problems?

Bottom Line: Based on low-quality observational data, running likely does not increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis, except possibly in elite athletes. Additionally, recreational running may be associated with lowering the risk of knee osteoarthritis. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments for reducing osteoarthritic pain.

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#262 – Who let the Gout Out? Targeting Uric Acid Levels in Treating Gout

Bottom Line: Best evidence finds that increasing doses of allopurinol to achieve a specific serum urate target (example <360 μmol/L) does not reduce gout flares, pain, or function, compared to standard allopurinol dosing. Febuxostat increases cardiovascular and overall mortality and should not be used in most patients with gout.

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#244 – Injecting Evidence into Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections

Bottom Line: The best quality evidence shows no difference in pain, function, or return to sport between platelet-rich plasma, dry needling, or saline for patients with Achilles tendinopathy, lateral epicondylitis, or rotator cuff tendinopathy.

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Urology

(4)

#270 – Burning Evidence for Fosfomycin in Cystitis

Bottom Line: At best, single dose fosfomycin has similar efficacy to other antibiotics for uncomplicated cystitis. However, the best quality, publicly funded trial showed it was not as efficacious as nitrofurantoin, with 58% of cases clinically resolving at 28 days compared to 70% for nitrofurantoin.

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#245 – Taking a hard look at the evidence: Phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors in erectile dysfunction

Bottom Line: PDE5 inhibitors increase the proportion of successful sexual intercourse attempts to ~65% versus ~30% for placebo. For every 3 men given a PDE5 inhibitor compared to placebo, an additional 1 will have “improved erections”.

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#238 – In COPD puffers, does three-of-kind beat a pair?

Bottom Line: In COPD patients with ≥1 exacerbation per year, triple therapy reduces the risk of having ≥1 exacerbations/year compared to LAMA/LABA dual therapy (one less patient for every 36) but increases the risk of pneumonia (one more patient for every 34) and costs. It is possible that higher blood eosinophil counts (>150-300 cells/µL) may help target adding ICS.

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#237 – Verifying the Value of Vaginal Estradiol Tablets

Bottom Line: Vaginal estradiol tablets are likely no better than placebo vaginal gel for reducing “most bothersome symptom scores” (mainly dyspareunia). However, compared to placebo vaginal tablets, they reduce symptoms (example: treatment “success” at 12 months in 86% versus 41% placebo). A non-medicated vaginal gel may be reasonable first-line for dyspareunia.

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