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Usefulness of Time-Point Serum Cortisol and ACTH Measurements for the Adjustment of Glucocorticoid Replacement in Adrenal Insufficiency

Abstract : Background Adjustment of daily hydrocortisone dose on clinical criteria lacks sensitivity for fine tuning. Long term hydrocortisone (HC) over-replacement may lead to increased morbidity and mortality in patients with adrenal insufficiency (AI). Biochemical criteria may help detecting over- or under-replacement but have been poorly evaluated. Methods Multicenter, institutional, pharmacokinetic study on ACTH and cortisol plasma profiles during HC replacement in 27 AI patients compared to 29 matched controls. All AI patients were administered HC thrice daily at doses of 6, 10 and 14 mg/m2/d. Blood samples were drawn hourly from 0800h to 1900h. The main outcome measures were: i) plasma peak cortisol and cortisol area under the curve (AUC) in AI patients compared to controls, ii) correlations between cortisol AUC vs single-point cortisol or ACTH decrease from baseline (ΔACTH) and iii) the predictive value of the two latters for obtaining AI patients’ cortisol AUC in the control range. Results Cortisol peaks were observed 1h after each HC intake and a dose response was demonstrated for cortisol peak and cortisol AUC. The comparison of AI patients’ cortisol AUC to controls showed that 81.5% AI patients receiving 6mg/m2/d were adequately replaced, whereas most patients receiving higher doses were over-replaced. The correlation coefficient between 1000h/1400h cortisol concentrations and 0800-1900h cortisol AUC were 0.93/0.88 respectively, whereas the 0800-1200h ΔACTH fairly correlated with 0800-1900h cortisol AUC (R = 0.57). ROC curve analysis indicated that the 1000h and 1400h cortisol concentrations best predicted over-replacement. Conclusions Patients receiving a 6mg/m2 hydrocortisone daily dose exhibited the most physiological daytime cortisol profile. Single point plasma cortisol correlated with daytime cortisol AUC in AI patients. Although hydrocortisone dose should be currently determined on clinical grounds, our data suggest that single point plasma cortisol may be an adjunct for further hydrocortisone dose adjustment in AI patients.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 10:42:50 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 2:36:35 PM

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Elise Rousseau, Michael Joubert, Géraldine Trzepla, Jean Jacques Parienti, Thomas Freret, et al.. Usefulness of Time-Point Serum Cortisol and ACTH Measurements for the Adjustment of Glucocorticoid Replacement in Adrenal Insufficiency. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (8), pp.e0135975. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0135975⟩. ⟨hal-02190958⟩

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