A Year to Remember

As I read over the informative, well-written CME article that Gary Goldenberg, M.D., authored this month, it occurred to me just how eventful 2005 has been. Although I don’t want to steal Dr. Goldenberg’s thunder, I thought it would be beneficial to highlight a few of the treatment advances and issues that have served as hallmarks of the past year in dermatology. Here’s a quick glance at some of the highlights of 2005: Vaccine for the varicella-zoster virus Based on data from a huge trial of patients (nearly 39,000 people), researchers concluded that the use of the herpes-zoster vaccine “reduced the incidence of herpes zoster by 51.3% and reduced the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia by 66.5%.” Methotrexate and Liver Biopsies This past year, the British Journal of Dermatology reported that experimental blood tests can be used in place of invasive liver biopsies in order to assess liver toxicity secondary to methotrexate. A Weekly Regimen of Fluconazole for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis At the end of a 12-month long study, patients who had received fluconazole (Diflucan) fared much better than those who had received placebo. Patients who had undergone fluconazole treatment were deemed clinically cured (42.9%) as compared with the patients who had received placebo (21.9%). Melanoma Excision Margins Revisited In a study of 900 patients who had melanoma greater than 2 mm in depth, some patients underwent a margin excision of 1 cm and the other group of patients underwent a margin excision of 3 cm. The number of deaths in both groups was statistically significant. However, the overall survival rates between the two groups was similar, raising the question of whether wider surgical margins are necessary. For a more comprehensive view, please turn to CME #125 titled “What Did We Learn in 2005?”, which begins on page 34. After reading, please take the test on pages 42 and 43 and submit it to us to earn your free CME credit. Larisa Hubbs Executive Editor lhubbs@hmpcommunications.com