ENDO 2021 Roundup: COVID-19 Risk With Adrenal Insufficiency, Cushing’s Death Risk, Jatenzo Liver Data, and More

Some of the latest research advancements in the field of endocrinology presented at the Endocrine Society’s virtual ENDO 2021 meeting included quantifying diabetic ketoacidosis readmission rateshyperglycemia as a severe COVID-19 predictor, and semaglutide as a weight loss therapy. Below are a few more research highlights:

More Safety Data on Jatenzo

In a study of 81 men with hypogonadism — defined as a serum testosterone level below 300 ng/dL — oral testosterone replacement therapy (Jatenzo) was both safe and effective in a manufacturer-sponsored study.

After 24 months of oral therapy, testosterone concentration increased from an average baseline of 208.3 ng/dL to 470.1 ng/dL, with 84% of patients achieving a number in the eugonadal range.

And importantly, the treatment also demonstrated liver safety, as there were no significant changes in liver function tests throughout the 2-year study — including alanine aminotransferase (28.0 ± 12.3 to 26.6 ± 12.8 U/L), aspartate transaminase (21.8 ± 6.8 to 22.0 ± 8.2 U/L), and bilirubin levels (0.58 ± 0.22 to 0.52 ± 0.19 mg/dL).

Throughout the trial, only one participant had elevation of liver function tests.

“Our study finds testosterone undecanoate is an effective oral therapy for men with low testosterone levels and has a safety profile consistent with other approved testosterone products, without the drawbacks of non-oral modes of administration,” said lead study author Ronald Swerdloff, MD, of the Lundquist Research Institute in Torrance, California, in a statement.

In addition, for many men with hypogonadism, “an oral option is preferred to avoid issues associated with other modes of administration, such as injection site pain or transference to partners and children,” he said. “Before [testosterone undecanoate] was approved, the only orally approved testosterone supplemental therapy in the United States was methyltestosterone, which was known to be associated with significant chemical-driven liver damage.”

Oral testosterone undecanoate received FDA approval in March 2019 following a rocky review history.

COVID-19 Risk With Adrenal Insufficiency

Alarming new data suggested that children with adrenal insufficiency were more than 23 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than kids without this condition (relative risk 23.68, P<0.0001). This equated to 11 deaths out of 1,328 children with adrenal insufficiency compared with 215 deaths out of 609,788 children without this condition (0.828% vs 0.035%).

These young patients with adrenal insufficiency also saw a much higher rate of sepsis (RR 21.68, P<0.0001) and endotracheal intubation with COVID-19 infection (RR 25.45, P<0.00001).

Data for the analysis were drawn from the international TriNetX database, which included patient records of children ages 18 and younger diagnosed with COVID-19 from 60 healthcare organizations in 31 different countries.

“It’s really important that you take your hydrocortisone medications and start stress dosing as soon as you’re sick,” study author Manish Raisingani, MD, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock, explained during a press conference. “This will help prevent significant complications due to COVID-19 or any other infections. A lot of the complications that we see in kids with adrenal insufficiency are due to inadequate stress dosing of steroids.”

And with kids starting to return back to in-person schooling, “parents should also be reeducated about using the emergency injections of hydrocortisone,” Raisingani added. He noted that the COVID-19 complication rates were likely so high in this patient population because many had secondary adrenal insufficiency due to being on long-term, chronic steroids. Many also had comorbid respiratory illnesses, as well.

Cushing’s Death Risk

In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 87 studies — including data on 17,276 patients with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome — researchers found that these patients face a much higher death rate than those without this condition.

Overall, patients with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome faced a nearly three times higher mortality ratio (standardized mortality ratio 2.91, 95% CI 2.41-3.68, I2=40.3%), with those with Cushing’s disease found to have an even higher mortality risk (SMR 3.27, 95% CI 2.33-4.21, I2=55.6%).

And those with adrenal Cushing’s syndrome also saw an elevated death risk, although not as high as patients with the disease (SMR 1.62, 95% CI 0.08-3.16, I2=0.0%).

The most common causes of mortality among these patients included cardiac conditions (25%), infection (14%), and cerebrovascular disease (9%).

“The causes of death highlight the need for aggressive management of cardiovascular risk, prevention of thromboembolism, and good infection control, and emphasize the need to achieve disease remission, normalizing cortisol levels,” said lead study author Padiporn Limumpornpetch, MD, of the University of Leeds in England, in a statement.

From https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/endo/91808

Morning Cortisol Rules Out Adrenal Insufficiency

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Key clinical point: Skip ACTH stimulation if morning serum cortisol is above 11.1 mcg/dL.

Major finding: A morning serum cortisol above 11.1 mcg/dL is a test of adrenal function with 99% sensitivity.

Data source: Review of 3,300 adrenal insufficiency work-ups.

Disclosures: There was no outside funding for the work, and the investigators had no disclosures.

BOSTON – A random morning serum cortisol above 11.1 mcg/dL safely rules out adrenal insufficiency in both inpatients and outpatients, according to a review of 3,300 adrenal insufficiency work-ups at the Edinburgh Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes.

The finding could help eliminate the cost and hassle of unnecessary adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation tests; the investigators estimated that the cut point would eliminate almost half of them without any ill effects. “You can be very confident that patients aren’t insufficient if they are above that line,” with more than 99% sensitivity. If they are below it, “they may be normal, and they may be abnormal.” Below 1.8 mcg/dL, adrenal insufficiency is almost certain, but between the cutoffs, ACTH stimulation is necessary, said lead investigator Dr. Scott Mackenzie, a trainee at the center.

In short, “basal serum cortisol as a screening test … offers a convenient and accessible means of identifying patients who require further assessment,” he said at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

Similar cut points have been suggested by previous studies, but the Scottish investigation is the first to validate its findings both inside and outside of the hospital.

The team arrived at the 11.1 mcg/dL morning cortisol cut point by comparing basal cortisol levels and synacthen results in 1,628 outpatients. They predefined a sensitivity of more than 99% for adrenal sufficiency to avoid missing anyone with true disease. The cut point’s predictive power was then validated in 875 outpatients and 797 inpatients. Morning basal cortisol levels proved superior to afternoon levels.

The investigators were thinking about cost-effectiveness, but they also wanted to increase screening. “We may be able to reduce the number of adrenal insufficiency cases we are missing because [primary care is] reluctant to send people to the clinic for synacthen tests” due to the cost and inconvenience. As with many locations in the United States, “our practice is to do [ACTH on] everyone.” If there was “a quick and easy 9 a.m. blood test” instead, it would help, Dr. Mackenzie said.

Adrenal insufficiency was on the differential for a wide variety of reasons, including hypogonadism, pituitary issues, prolactinemia, fatigue, hypoglycemia, postural hypotension, and hyponatremia. Most of the patients were middle aged, and they were about evenly split between men and women.

There was no outside funding for the work, and the investigators had no disclosures.

aotto@frontlinemedcom.com

From http://www.clinicalendocrinologynews.com/specialty-focus/pituitary-thyroid-adrenal-disorders/single-article-page/morning-cortisol-rules-out-adrenal-insufficiency/af59bab2bb014ca9d352c792f9d41653.html

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