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GW Resident Segment – January 2018 Edition with Dr. Hsu

In this throwback edition of the JDD Podcast “Ask the Investigator,” host Adam Friedman speaks with Dr. Sylvia Hsu, Professor and Chair of Dermatology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University on her study published in the August 2008 edition of the JDD entitled, “A Case Series of 48 Patients Treated with Thalidomide.” Get a taste of rich dermatology history with the evolution of thalidomide use in clinic practice. Hear how Dr. Hsu and colleagues undertook this case review and what they learned from their experiences. How does Dr. Hsu use Thalidomide in her practice today? Well, you will have to tune in to find out!  Listen to the Podcast here.

Along with the monthly JDD Podcast, GW residents have started an online segment in which the study author answers a few questions from residents on a range of topics.  Up this month is a Q&A with Dr. Sylvia Hsu, M.D.

Were any of your patients familiar with the history of thalidomide-associated birth defects (phocomelia)?

Yes, some of my patients had heard about thalidomide’s infamous side effect of phocomelia.

Did this deter them from taking the medication?

This did not deter any of them from taking the medication, since none of my patients were planning on conceiving when they were started on thalidomide.

However, I have had patients decide not to take the drug because they were concerned about the sensory neuropathy side effect.

How did you assuage their concerns?

I assuaged patients’ concerns about phocomelia by informing them that both men and women who take the drug need to use birth control for just one month after ingestion of the last capsule.

What is one piece of advice for current residents and young dermatologists?

The drug works really well and quickly for cutaneous lupus.  I find that 50 mg is efficacious in most patients. After clearance, patients can often decrease their dose to 50 mg every other night or every 3rd night.  Neuropathy is dose-dependent, so at this low dose in treating cutaneous lupus, development of neuropathy is rare.

What is one book everyone should read?

Comprehensive Dermatologic Drug, 3e (Wolverton, editor)