Common Asthma Steroids Linked to Side Effects in Adrenal Glands

(Reuters Health) – After stopping steroids commonly prescribed for asthma and allergies, a significant number of people may experience signs of malfunctioning in the adrenal glands, a European study finds.

So-called adrenal insufficiency can be dangerous, especially if the person’s body has to cope with a stress like surgery, injury or a serious illness, the study authors say.

“The takeaway message of the study is that in corticosteroid use there is a substantial risk of adrenal insufficiency,” senior author Dr. Olaf Dekkers, an endocrinologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, said by email. “Patients should be aware of this risk and be informed about potential symptoms.”

Those symptoms can include fatigue, dizziness, weight loss and salt cravings, the authors write in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Corticosteroids are man-made drugs designed to mimic the hormone cortisol, which the adrenal glands produce naturally. The drugs are usually used to counter inflammation in a wide range of conditions, including asthma, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, blood cancers and organ transplants.

People with adrenal insufficiency do not make enough of two hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol helps the body respond to stress, recover from infections and regulate blood pressure and metabolism. Aldosterone helps maintain the right amounts of salt, potassium and water in the body.

While on steroids, the body often produces less of these hormones naturally, and after coming off the drugs it can take a while for natural production to ramp back up. The result is adrenal insufficiency, which can be treated with medication to replace cortisol or aldosterone.

Dekkers and colleagues analyzed 74 research articles published from 1975 to 2014, covering a total of 3753 study participants, to see how different doses and types of corticosteroid treatment might impact the likelihood of developing adrenal insufficiency after treatment.

Researchers found the risk of adrenal insufficiency was highest when corticosteroids were taken orally or injected, and lower with inhaled, nasal or topical treatment.

When they looked just at patients using steroids for asthma, the researchers found that the risk of adrenal insufficiency was about 7 percent with inhaled corticosteroids, but about 44 percent with other formulations including oral medication.

Only about 2 percent of asthma patients on the lowest dose of steroids experienced adrenal insufficiency, compared with about 22 percent on the highest doses.

Similarly, slightly more than 1 percent of asthma patients on short-term steroids developed adrenal insufficiency, compared with about 27 percent on long-term treatment.

There is no way to safely halt treatment with corticosteroids that can rule out the potential for adrenal insufficiency, Dekkers said.

The side effect is more likely when patients take higher doses of steroids or remain on treatment for longer than three weeks, said Dr. Roberto Salvatori, medical director of the pituitary center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

“It’s likely, and it’s often overlooked because most often the people who prescribe corticosteroids aren’t endocrinologists; they are in other specialities and they don’t recognize the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency,” said Salvatori, who wasn’t involved in the study.

He gives his patients on corticosteroids medical identification bracelets or necklaces to wear so they can be identified as at risk for adrenal insufficiency in an emergency. “This is a very important issue that’s not on the radar screen,” he said.

To be sure, more physicians are aware of the risk now than in the 1970s, and the standard doses and durations of corticosteroid treatment have been reduced in part because of this risk, said Dr. Douglas Coursin, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. He, too, advises medical alert bracelets for patients on long-term or high-dose treatment.

“In the past, patients with asthma, certain immune diseases, those receiving some cancer therapies and those who had a solid organ transplant received higher doses for longer periods of time,” Coursin, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Overall, I think the risk may be lower than outlined in the study because of practice changes.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/1PjRHYw Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, online April 6, 2015.

What Is Adrenal Hyperplasia? – Yahoo News UK

Adrenal hyperplasia is a rare genetic condition that involves the adrenal glands, which lie just above the kidneys.

It results in a blockage in the assembly line that makes the stress hormone cortisol from its chemical precursors.

People with the condition have low levels of cortisol, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. If they fall too low, it can result in a coma.

But in some cases, the blockage can also reduce the production of aldosterone, a hormone involved in the regulation of salt in the bloodstream.

If salt levels fall too low it can lead to dehydration, vomiting and death.

Regular treatment with steroid medicines can help to maintain normal hormone levels and although the condition is lifelong, the outlook is generally good.

via Missing Boy: What Is Adrenal Hyperplasia? – Yahoo News UK.

Genetics of adrenal diseases in 2014: Genetics improves understanding of adrenocortical tumours

2014 has seen advances in our understanding of benign and malignant tumours of the adrenal cortex, particularly in Cushing syndrome. Modern genetics has generated a flurry of data. The challenge is to give sense to them; however, the difficulties of collecting the clinical data must not be underestimated.

Download this information at http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nrendo.2014.215.html

  • References
  1. Beuschlein, F. et al. Constitutive activation of PKA catalytic subunit in adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. N. Engl. J. Med. 370, 10191028 (2014).
  2. Goh, G. et al. Recurrent activating mutation in PRKACA in cortisol-producing adrenal tumors. Nat. Genet. 46, 613617 (2014).
  3. Sato, Y. et al. Recurrent somatic mutations underlie corticotropin-independent Cushing’s syndrome. Science 344, 917920 (2014).
  4. Cao, Y. et al. Activating hotspot L205R mutation in PRKACA and adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. Science 344, 913917 (2014).
  5. Assié, G. et al. ARMC5 mutations in macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with Cushing’s syndrome. N. Engl. J. Med. 369, 21052114 (2013).
  6. Assié, G. et al. Integrated genomic characterization of adrenocortical carcinoma. Nat. Genet. 46, 607612 (2014).
  7. Beuschlein, F. et al. Somatic mutations in ATP1A1 and ATP2B3 lead to aldosterone-producing adenomas and secondary hypertension. Nat. Genet. 45, 440444 (2013).
  8. Scholl, U. I. et al. Somatic and germline CACNA1D calcium channel mutations in aldosterone-producing adenomas and primary aldosteronism. Nat. Genet. 45,10501054 (2013).
  9. Azizan, E. A. et al. Somatic mutations in ATP1A1 and CACNA1D underlie a common subtype of adrenal hypertension. Nat. Genet. 45, 10551060 (2013).
  10. Fernandes-Rosa, F. L. et al. Genetic spectrum and clinical correlates of somatic mutations in aldosterone-producing adenoma. Hypertension 64, 354361 (2014).

Diagnosing and Treating Cortisol Excess and Deficiency

From Day 1 of the 16th International Congress of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society’s 96th Annual Meeting and Expo »

Chicago, IL – June 21, 2014

A phase 2 study of Chronocort®, a modified release formulation of hydrocortisone, in the treatment of adults with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia

A Mallappa, L-A Daley, N Sinaii, C Van Ryzin, H Huatan, D Digweed, D Eckland, M Whitaker, LK Nieman, RJ Ross, DP Merke

Summary: Classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency is characterized by cortisol and aldosterone deficiency and androgen excess. Current conventional glucocorticoid therapy is suboptimal as it cannot replace the normal cortisol circadian rhythm and inadequate or inappropriate suppression of adrenal androgens are common. In the preliminary results of a phase 2 study of Chronocort®, a modified release hydrocortisone capsule formulation, researchers found that Chronocort®, a novel modified release hydrocortisone capsule formulation, approximates physiological cortisol secretion, and improves biochemical control of CAH. Further analyses are underway.

Methods:

  • The study objectives were to characterize pharmacokinetics and examine disease control following 6 months dose titration.
  • Serial profiling was obtained at baseline (conventional glucocorticoid) and every 2 months.
  • Twice-daily Chronocort® was initiated: 20 mg at 2300 h, 10 mg at 0700 h.
  • Dose titration was based on clinical status and optimal hormonal ranges (17OHP 300-1200 ng/dL, normal androstenedione (males: 40-150, females: 30-200 ng/dL), with androstenedione prioritized.
  • Chronocort® cortisol pharmacokinetic profile was the primary endpoint.
  • Secondary endpoints included biomarkers of disease control.

Results:

  • A total of 16 adults (8 females; age 29 ±13 years) with classic CAH (12 salt-wasting, 4 simple virilizing) participated.
  • Conventional therapy varied (5 dexamethasone, 7 prednisone, 4 hydrocortisone).
  • Chronocort® cortisol pharmacokinetic profile approximated physiological cortisol secretion.
  • Ten patients required Chronocort® dose adjustments (decrease in 8, increase in 2; mean hydrocortisone equivalent dose conventional vs 6 months: 16.1 ± 6.4 vs 14.7 ± 6.4 mg/m2).
  • Serial androstenedione levels were in the normal range in 8 (50%) of patients on conventional therapy compared with 12 (75%) on Chronocort® at 6 months.
  • The majority of patients on Chronocort® achieved 17O HP levels within the normal range, rather than within the mildly elevated range currently used for management.
  • At 6 months, Chronocort® resulted in lower 24-hr (P=0.02), morning (0700-1500; P=0.008), and afternoon (1500-2300; P=0.03) area-under-the-curve androstenedione compared with conventional therapy.
  • No serious adverse events occurred.
  • Common adverse events were headache, fatigue, early awakening, and anemia.
  • Three patients had unexpected carpal tunnel syndrome, which resolved with wrist splints.

From http://www.mdlinx.com/endocrinology/conference-abstract.cfm/ZZ5BA369FDE9DE4CED82CB6A7CD5BFD1BE/16521/?utm_source=confcoveragenl&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=abstract-list&utm_campaign=abstract-ICE/EN2014&nonus=0#

Adrenal Diseases During Pregnancy: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis And Management Strategies

Am J Med Sci. 2014 Jan;347(1):64-73. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31828aaeee.

Author information

Abstract

: Adrenal diseases-including disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, pheochromocytoma, primary hyperaldosteronism and congenital adrenal hyperplasia-are relatively rare in pregnancy, but a timely diagnosis and proper treatment are critical because these disorders can cause maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality.

Making the diagnosis of adrenal disorders in pregnancy is challenging as symptoms associated with pregnancy are also seen in adrenal diseases. In addition, pregnancy is marked by several endocrine changes, including activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

The aim of this article was to review the pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, diagnosis and management of various adrenal disorders during pregnancy.

PMID:
23514671
[PubMed – in process]

From http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23514671

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