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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Jul;77(1):18-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04352.x.

A randomized, double-blind, crossover study comparing two- and four-dose hydrocortisone regimen with regard to quality of life, cortisol and ACTH profiles in patients with primary adrenal insufficiency.

Author information

1
Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Section of Endocrinology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden. Bertil.Ekman@lio.se

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Current guidelines on how to divide the daily cortisol substitution dose in patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) are controversial and mainly based on empirical data.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess how an equal dose of hydrocortisone (HC) given either four times daily or twice daily influence diurnal profiles of cortisol and ACTH, patient preferences and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

DESIGN:

Double blind, crossover.

METHODS:

Fifteen patients with PAI (six women) were included. Capsules of HC or placebo were given at 07:00, 12:00, 16:00 and 22:00 h in 4-week treatment periods: either one period with four doses (10 + 10 + 5 + 5 mg) or one period with two doses (20 + 0 + 10 + 0 mg). Diurnal profiles of cortisol and ACTH were collected, and area under the curve (AUC) was calculated. Questionnaires were used to evaluate patient preferences and HRQoL.

RESULTS:

The four-dose regimen gave a higher serum cortisol before tablet intake in the morning (P = 0·027) and a higher 24-h cortisol(AUC) (P < 0·0001) compared with the two-dose period. In contrast, a lower median plasma ACTH in the morning before tablet intake (P = 0·003) and a lower 24-h ln(ACTH(AUC) ) were found during the four-dose period. The patients preferred the four-dose regimen (P = 0·03), and the HRQoL scores tended to be higher (high score indicates better HRQoL) for the four-dose period. In summary, a four-dose regimen gives increased availability of cortisol and an enhanced effect with a less elevated ACTH in the morning in comparison with a two-dose regimen but the effect on HRQoL remains inconclusive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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