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      Long-Acting Hydrocortisone for Glucocorticoid Replacement Therapy

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          Background: Glucocorticoid (GC) deficiency is a consequence of various disorders that are by themselves rare. Because of this low prevalence, the low cost of GC replacement therapy and the belief that existing outcomes are good, there has been little interest in development of new and improved pharmaceutical products for treatment of GC deficiency. However, GC replacement therapy is complex: diurnal variation of endogenous cortisol must be replicated, GC needs may change during times of physical and psychological stress and there is no biomarker of its action that can be used to monitor individual dose response. Current Limitations: Recent data suggest that the outcome of established long-term GC replacement therapy may not be as good as previously believed. Short-acting GCs such as hydrocortisone (HC) and cortisone acetate for replacement therapy require 2 to 3 administrations per day. Developing Alternatives: Drug delivery system technologies are now available that could permit design and manufacture of a formulation that could accommodate once-daily administration of HC. Such a formulation would enable more physiological serum cortisol-time profiles than are possible with currently available formulations. This short review provides some background on GC replacement therapy, along with recent data on the outcome of patient groups with GC insufficiency, and briefly discusses some general principles for a controlled-release (‘long-acting’) HC formulation.

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              Dehydroepiandrosterone replacement in women with adrenal insufficiency.

              The physiologic role of dehydroepiandrosterone in humans is still unclear. Adrenal insufficiency leads to a deficiency of dehydroepiandrosterone; we therefore, investigated the effects of dehydroepiandrosterone replacement, in patients with adrenal insufficiency. In a double-blind study, 24 women with adrenal insufficiency received in random order 50 mg of dehydroepiandrosterone orally each morning for four months and placebo daily for four months, with a one-month washout period. We measured serum steroid hormones, insulin-like growth factor I, lipids, and sex hormone-binding globulin, and we evaluated well-being and sexuality with the use of validated psychological questionnaires and visual-analogue scales, respectively. The women were assessed before treatment, after one and four months of treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone, after one and four months of placebo, and one month after the end of the second treatment period. Treatment with dehydroepiandrosterone raised the initially low serum concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, androstenedione, and testosterone into the normal range; serum concentrations of sex hormone-binding globulin, total cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased significantly. Dehydroepiandrosterone significantly improved overall well-being as well as scores for depression and anxiety. For the global severity index, the mean (+/-SD) change from base line was -0.18+/-0.29 after four months of dehydroepiandrosterone therapy, as compared with 0.03+/-0.29 after four months of placebo (P=0.02). As compared with placebo, dehydroepiandrosterone significantly increased the frequency of sexual thoughts (P=0.006), sexual interest (P=0.002), and satisfaction with both mental and physical aspects of sexuality (P=0.009 and P=0.02, respectively). Dehydroepiandrosterone improves well-being and sexuality in women with adrenal insufficiency.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                December 2007
                10 December 2007
                : 68
                : Suppl 5
                : 182-188
                aDepartment of Endocrinology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, and bDepartment of Biopharmacy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
                110621 Horm Res 2007;68:182–188
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 47, Pages: 7
                Adult Workshop 4


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