• An analysis of the utilisation and expenditure of medicines dispensed for the management of severe asthma.

      McGowan, B; Bennett, K; Barry, M; Owens, M; O'Connor, M; Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James's Hospital, James's St, Dublin 8. mcgowab@tcd.ie (2009-03)
      There are approximately 6,300 people in Ireland with a diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and with a fast growing elderly population the incidence of COPD is likely to increase. This study examines the prescribing patterns of medicines dispensed for the management Asthma/COPD in patients over the age of 35 years using the HSE-Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) prescribing databases. The HSE-PCRS pharmacy claims data, which covers all those over 70 years of age and means tested for those less than 70 years, was analysed for the years 2005/2006. Approximately 26,548 (17.9%) of patients who were prescribed a respiratory drug received inhaled short-acting beta2 agonists in combination with a regular standard-dose inhaled corticosteroid. A further 5,044 (3.4%) were also prescribed a regular inhaled long-acting beta2 agonist (salmeterol or formoterol). A total of 2506 patients (6.2%) on combination therapy were co-prescribed four different anti-asthmatic treatments inclusive of oral prednisolone. A small proportion of the patients prescribed a respiratory drug were co-prescribed nicotine replacement therapy (n = 5177, 3.5%). In total there were 9,728 (6.2%) patients prescribed a mucolytic drug in combination with a respiratory drug and the rate of co-prescribing with antibiotics was 22%. COPD is a debilitating disease that is primarily caused by smoking and is therefore largely preventable. The HSE-PCRS pharmacy claims data is a valuable tool for helping to assess the burden of this disease in the Irish context.
    • Encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroid disease in patients with Graves' disease: clinical manifestations, follow-up, and outcomes.

      Tamagno, Gianluca; Celik, Yahya; Simó, Rafael; Dihné, Marcel; Kimura, Kazumi; Gelosa, Giorgio; Lee, Byung I; Hommet, Caroline; Murialdo, Giovanni; Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, St Vincent's University Hospital, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. gianluca.tamagno@ucd.ie (2010)
      BACKGROUND: The encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroid disease (EAATD) is characterized by neurological/psychiatric symptoms, high levels of anti-thyroid antibodies, increased cerebrospinal fluid protein concentration, non-specific electroencephalogram abnormalities, and responsiveness to the corticosteroid treatment in patients with an autoimmune thyroid disease. Almost all EAATD patients are affected by Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), although fourteen EAATD patients with Graves' disease (GD) have been also reported. METHODS: We have recorded and analyzed the clinical, biological, radiological, and electrophysiological findings and the data on the therapeutic management of all GD patients with EAATD reported so far as well as the clinical outcomes in those followed-up in the long term. RESULTS: Twelve of the fourteen patients with EAATD and GD were women. The majority of GD patients with EAATD presented with mild hyperthyroidism at EAATD onset or shortly before it. Active anti-thyroid autoimmunity was detected in all cases. Most of the patients dramatically responded to corticosteroids. The long term clinical outcome was benign but EAATD can relapse, especially at the time of corticosteroid dose tapering or withdrawal. GD and HT patients with EAATD present with a similar clinical, biological, radiological, and electrophysiological picture and require an unaffected EAATD management. CONCLUSIONS: GD and HT equally represent the possible background condition for the development of EAATD, which should be considered in the differential diagnosis of all patients with encephalopathy of unknown origin and an autoimmune thyroid disease, regardless of the nature of the underlying autoimmune thyroid disease.