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Potential Adverse Consequences of Combination Therapy with Gabapentin and Pregabalin
Gabapentinoids comprise the medications gabapentin and pregabalin. These were designed to not only look chemically like the central inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) but also act like it. The prototype gabapentin was primarily introduced to be used as antiepileptic medication. Today, both chemicals are not only utilized as adjunct antiepileptics in focal (aware and impaired awareness) seizures but are also used in several neuropathic pain conditions and other clinical indications. Their use has skyrocketed in the past few years and this has brought forward more instances of adverse effects and errors in prescribing practices. We describe here a case of a female patient with a history of diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and hypertension being prescribed both gabapentin and pregabalin concomitantly which led to adverse effects like drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, and ataxia. Once the patient medication profile was revisited, the pharmacy staff was able to identify the therapeutic duplications (gabapentin and pregabalin). The physician was contacted and pregabalin was discontinued. This led to the disappearance of the adverse effects. The dose of the existing gabapentin was increased to control the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. This report sheds light on the importance of responsible prescribing, efficient checking of medication profiles on the level of dispensing pharmacies, and timely follow-up to patients to keep the patients safe and their medical conditions under check.
Post-COVID-19 Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Background. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus (SARS-COVID-19). The WHO first learned about this new virus on December 31, 2019, following a report on a group of cases of “viral pneumonia” in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China, and declared a pandemic in March 2020. The disease was an almost complete unknown at the outset, but knowledge of its pathophysiology, clinical picture, and treatment options grew and developed rapidly. Objective. Dizziness is a very common symptom that patients report in routine clinical practice and one of the significant clinical manifestations of COVID-19. This short report investigated a possible connection between COVID-19 and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Methods. We present two cases of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which developed within two weeks of SARS-COVID-19 infection, manifesting with mild disease severity in early November 2020. Results. In both cases, the disease manifested by severe, short-lived attacks of vertigo, objective-circular type, with accompanying nausea and vomiting. The symptoms occurred when lying in bed and turning to the right and assuming an upright position. The diagnosis of posterior semicircular canal BPPV (PC-BPPV) was made based on a subjectively and objectively positive right-sided Dix–Hallpike test. Conclusions. The pathophysiology of post-COVID BPPV is probably similar to that of other viral infections, with some of its specificities such as inducing hypercoagulation and microthrombus formation, which can cause significant circulatory disorders possibly affecting its pathogenesis.
A Case Series of Severe Dengue with Neurological Presentation in Children from a Colombian Hyperendemic Area
Dengue transmission is sustained in Colombia with increasing prevalence mainly in children. This work aimed to describe a case series of children diagnosed with dengue presenting neurological disease in Huila Province of Colombia. Eleven pediatric febrile patients confirmed for dengue disease and presenting neurological signs were studied in the University Hospital of Neiva, Huila Province. Clinical and laboratory findings, CSF cytochemical analysis, neurology images, and serology and molecular studies were performed. Viral RNA was detected in all patients’ sera by RT-PCR. Nine out of 11 were primary infections. Tonic-clonic seizures (73%), consciousness alterations (27%), irritability (27%), and ataxia (18%) were the most frequent neurological signs. None of the patients had plasma leakage, hypovolemic shock, or liver disease, confirming the encephalitis diagnosis. Diagnostic images did not show abnormal findings, but neither bacterial nor fungal infections were detected in CSF analysis. All patients survived without sequelae except for one patient that presented ataxia for months. In conclusion, we described a group of children with neurological signs during severe dengue disease as the main finding, indicating the importance to including dengue as a differential diagnosis in neurological patients from endemic areas.
The Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 (RT-PCR) Testing
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is estimated to have affected 6.2 million people in the United States and 27.5 million people worldwide as of September 9, 2020. On February 2, 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined that the public health emergency justified the development and emergency use of “in vitro diagnostics for the detection and/or diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID-19” by activating the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority under section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Unfortunately, effective mitigation efforts were thwarted early in the outbreak resulting in an expansion of the initial EUA on February 29, 2020, to improve accessibility to in vitro diagnostic testing. Expectantly, the development and deployment of SARS-CoV-2 testing including RT-PCR expanded rapidly in the weeks following the EUA expansion. These newly developed and approved SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR tests boast impressive positive and negative agreement rates nearing 100%. Despite the exceptionally high rates of agreement, caution is advised as the RT-PCR tests approved under the COVID-19 EUA are in vitro analyses developed with samples artificially doped with SARS-CoV-2 RNA. These tests therefore do not have clinically applicable sensitivity and specificity because they lack a “gold standard” for diagnosis. Here we present three challenging cases requiring cautious interpretation of the newest generation of RT-PCR molecular detection assays, highlighting the major challenges faced by providers treating patients potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Infantile Extracranial Rhabdoid Tumor of the Scalp
Extracranial rhabdoid tumor is a rare tumor that can originate in multiple organs, and it is most commonly seen in the kidneys. This tumor has a grave prognosis. We report to the best of our knowledge the first case of infantile scalp extracranial rhabdoid tumor in a 6-month-old male baby who presented with a right parietal scalp mass since the age of 1 month. This mass was initially diagnosed as scalp hemangioma based on clinical and imaging findings. However, this mass was growing fast which necessitated excision. Pathologic examination after excision showed a malignant tumor composed of sheets of rhabdoid cells. Immunohistochemically, this tumor tested positive for vimentin, CD 99, glypican-3, synaptopysin, WT-1, CK, and EMA. INI-1 immunostain was lost in the tumor cells. Subsequently, this tumor was pathologically diagnosed as extracranial scalp rhabdoid tumor. After tumor excision, the patient was referred to pediatric oncology to receive chemotherapy. Experience with scalp extracranial rhabdoid tumors is limited. However, this tumor in other organs carries a grave prognosis. Although scalp extracranial rhabdoid tumor is an extremely rare tumor, it should be kept in mind in the differential diagnosis of infantile scalp masses given the need of combined surgical and chemotherapeutic treatment.
Severe Hyperphosphatemia in a Patient with Mild Acute Kidney Injury
Hyperphosphatemia may arise from various conditions including exogenous ingestion, extracellular shifts due to cell death or alterations in acid-base status, increased bone resorption, hormonal dysregulations leading to reduced renal excretion, reduced kidney function, or faulty measurement techniques. We herein present a case of a young pregnant woman who presented with mild acute kidney injury (AKI), invasive mucormycosis receiving liposomal amphotericin, and hyperphosphatemia out of proportion to the degree of kidney injury. While the patient was given routine phosphate-binding agent by her primary care team for presumed AKI-associated hyperphosphatemia, a full investigation by the renal consulting team for contributing factors other than kidney injury revealed that she actually had pseudohyperphosphatemia associated with the use of liposomal amphotericin. Erroneous treatment of pseudohyperphosphatemia may have been detrimental to this pregnant patient. A literature review for conditions associated with pseudohyperphosphatemia other than the use of liposomal amphotericin will be discussed.