Treating sickle cell, managing COPD, more stories

This issue covers stories on sickle cell disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other stories.

Sickle cell patients and their physicians received some welcome news late last year when the FDA approved two new gene-related therapies for the disease, one that uses a gene delivery vehicle and another that relies on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. But while the treatments are groundbreaking, they're also very costly, and they can't accurately be labeled "cures" at this point because their long-term effects are not yet known. Our story this issue describes how the treatments work, which patients might be the best candidates, and what potential barriers might prevent widespread uptake.

Our story takes a look at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that's very familiar to primary care physicians, with some data showing that they manage approximately 80% of U.S. patients with this disorder. Part of such management includes ensuring appropriate adherence to medications and following up to be sure those medications are effectively treating symptoms. Read our story for advice on fine-tuning COPD treatment and selecting therapies that patients can and will use.

Two other articles in this issue offer advice on managing patients' medications. In Pearls from I.M. Peers, an internal medicine physician outlines the potential risks of digoxin toxicity, noting that laboratory ranges for "normal" values are overdue for an update and making the case for regular monitoring, especially after a new medication is prescribed. In addition, a Q&A offers insight from the coauthor of a recent study showing an association between systemic estrogen use and use of other potentially inappropriate medications in older women.

Giving presentations, whether at your hospital or at a national meeting, is an excellent way to advance your career. Putting yourself out there in front of your peers is much easier said than done, though, and early career physicians may feel as if they don't know where to start when preparing a talk. Our I.M. Ready feature aims to help by offering tips and tricks from expert presenters on conquering your nerves and captivating your audience.

The most recent virtual forum event from ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine, held in February, offered internal medicine physicians an update on the most recent adult vaccine recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Learn details on what's new and what you need to know to help protect your patients.

Last but not least, Internal Medicine Meeting 2024 is happening this month, April 18-20 in Boston. Watch your email for updates, and contact us any time to let us know what meeting news you'd like to read about.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor