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Found 5 results

  1. Dexamethasone, a cheap and widely used steroid, has become the first drug shown to be able to save lives among Covid-19 patients in what scientists hailed as a “major breakthrough”. Results of trials announced on Tuesday showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital. The results suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients with severe cases of the pandemic disease, said the researchers who led the trials. “This is a result that shows that if patients who have Covid-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor co-leading the trial, known as the RECOVERY trial. “It’s going to be very hard for any drug really to replace this, given that for less than 50 pounds ($63.26), you can treat eight patients and save a life,” he told reporters in an online briefing. His co-lead investigator, Peter Horby, said dexamethasone was “the only drug that’s so far shown to reduce mortality - and it reduces it significantly.” “It is a major breakthrough,” he said. “Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.” There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus which has killed more than 431,000 globally. Saving ‘countless lives’ The RECOVERY trial compared outcomes of around 2,100 patients who were randomly assigned to get the steroid, with those of around 4,300 patients who did not get it. The results suggest that one death would be prevented by treatment with dexamethasone among every eight ventilated Covid-19 patients, Landray said, and one death would be prevented among every 25 Covid-19 patients that received the drug and are on oxygen. Among patients with Covid-19 who did not require respiratory support, there was no benefit from treatment with dexamethasone. “The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients,” Horby said. Nick Cammack, a expert on Covid-19 at the Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the findings would “transform the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lives and economies across the world”. “Countless lives will be saved globally,” he said in a statement responding to the results. The RECOVERY trial was launched in April as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for Covid-19, including low-dose dexamethasone and the malaria drug hydoxycholoroquine. The hydroxychloroquine arm was halted earlier this month after Horby and Landray said results showed it was “useless” at treating Covid-19 patients. Global cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have reached over 8 million, according to a Reuters tally, and more than 434,000 people have died after contracting the virus, the first case if which was reported in China in early January. From https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/16/steroid-dexamethasone-reduces-deaths-from-severe-covid-19-trial.html
  2. Endocrinologists have underlined the importance that physicians consider "a stress dose" of glucocorticoids in the event of severe COVID-19 infection in endocrine, and other, patients on long-term steroids. People taking corticosteroids on a routine basis for a variety of underlying inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and arthritis, are at elevated risk of being infected with, and adversely affected by, COVID-19. This also applies to a rarer group of patients with adrenal insufficiency and uncontrolled Cushing syndrome, as well as secondary adrenal insufficiency occurring in hypopituitarism, who also rely on glucocorticoids for day-to-day living. In the event of COVID-19, all of these individuals may be unable to mount a normal stress response, and "in the case of adrenal suppression...such patients may run into severe difficulties, particularly if on intensive care units," warns Paul Stewart, MD, University of Leeds, UK, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). As such, it is vitally important to recognize that "Injectable supplemental glucocorticoid therapy in this setting can reverse the risk of potentially fatal adrenal failure and should be considered in every case," Stewart and colleagues emphasize in a newly published editorial in JCEM. They note this advice must be considered alongside World Health Organization (WHO) guidance against prescribing therapeutic glucocorticoids to treat complications of COVID-19, based on prior experience in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as those affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The key difference here is not to use pharmacologic doses of glucocorticoids as treatment for COVID-19 (where they have no effect), but rather to prevent death from adrenal failure by using "stress" doses of replacement glucocorticoid, Stewart explained to Medscape Medical News. "No patient with a history of prior exposure to chronic glucocorticoid therapy (> 3 months)...should die without consideration" for a stress dose of replacement glucocorticoid therapy. "The intent here is to ensure that no patient with a history of prior exposure to chronic glucocorticoid therapy (> 3 months) by whatever route should die without consideration for parenteral glucocorticoid therapy," the editorialists write. He advises using physiological stress doses of hydrocortisone (50-100 mg intravenously tid). Specific Advice for Adrenal Insufficiency: Follow Sick Day Rules A separate statement by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) also emphasizes that it is particularly important for patients with adrenal insufficiency to follow advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or similar guidance on preventing COVID-19 infection, including social distancing and frequent hand washing. Such patients should continue to take medications as prescribed and ensure they have appropriate supplies of oral and injectable steroids, ideally for 90 days, AACE advises. And if there is a shortage of hydrocortisone, the statement advises patients ask a pharmacist or physician about replacement hydrocortisone with different doses that might be available. Stewart agrees that patients with adrenal insufficiency need to be hypervigilant, but says that "if they do become ill, for the most part they are well counseled to respond appropriately to intercurrent infections." Nevertheless, it is "invaluable to reiterate 'sick day rules'" for suspected COVID-19 infection. "Any patient who develops a dry continuous cough and fever should immediately double their daily oral glucocorticoid dose and continue on this regimen until the fever has subsided." If a patient still deteriorates on this regimen, develops diarrhea or vomiting, or is unable to take oral glucocorticoids for other reasons, they should contact their physicians or seek urgent medical care to receive parenteral treatment with a glucocorticoid. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Published online March 31, 2020. Position statement For more diabetes and endocrinology news, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. From https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/928072?nlid=134869_3901&src=wnl_newsalrt_200404_MSCPEDIT&uac=295048SY&impID=2335560&faf=1&fbclid=IwAR1zZe6fqDS3tKuHUYoFpbvBMkQYJ4JN59RzC93xdzVcGGkJIz5bnmmE4LY
  3. MaryO

    In Memory: Jill's Father

    January 5, 2005 Jill wrote: 'In December 2004 my dad who had addison's for over 30 years had a triple bypass surgery 6 days before Christmas. The surgery was an amazine success and it was predicted he would be home before Christmas. Day 2 following surgery the hospital neglected to give him his steriods for his Addison's for 22 hours, which they were completely aware that he had...' Read more at https://cushingsbios.com/2016/04/29/in-memory-jills-father-january-5-2005/
  4. All patients who undergo removal of one adrenal gland due to Cushing’s syndrome (CS) or adrenal incidentaloma (AI, adrenal tumors discovered incidentally) should receive a steroid substitutive therapy, a new study shows. The study, “Predictability of hypoadrenalism occurrence and duration after adrenalectomy for ACTH‐independent hypercortisolism,” was published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. CS is a rare disease, but subclinical hypercortisolism, an asymptomatic condition characterized by mild cortisol excess, has a much higher prevalence. In fact, subclinical hypercortisolism, is present in up to 20 percent of patients with AI. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) is composed of the hypothalamus, which releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) that acts on the pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), that in turn acts on the adrenal gland to release cortisol. To avoid excess cortisol production, high cortisol levels tell the hypothalamus and the pituitary to stop producing CRH and ACTH, respectively. Therefore, as CS and AI are characterized by high levels of cortisol, there is suppression of the HPA axis. As the adrenal gland is responsible for the production of cortisol, patients might need steroid substitutive therapy after surgical removal of AI. Indeed, because of HPA axis suppression, some patients have low cortisol levels after such surgeries – clinically known as post-surgical hypocortisolism (PSH), which can be damaging to the patient. While some researchers suggest that steroid replacement therapy should be given only to some patients, others recommend it should be given to all who undergo adrenalectomy (surgical removal of the adrenal gland). Some studies have shown that the severity of hypercortisolism, as well as the degree of HPA axis suppression and treatment with ketoconazole pre-surgery in CS patients, are associated with a longer duration of PSH. Until now, however, there have been only a few studies to guide in predicting the occurrence and duration of PSH. Therefore, researchers conducted a study to determine whether HPA axis activity, determined by levels of ACTH and cortisol, could predict the occurrence and duration of PSH in patients who undergo an adrenalectomy. Researchers studied 80 patients who underwent adrenalectomy for either CS or AI. Prior to the surgery, researchers measured levels of ACTH, urinary free cortisol (UFC), and serum cortisol after 1 mg dexamethasone suppression test (1 mg-DST). After the surgery, all patients were placed on steroid replacement therapy and PSH was determined after two months. For those with PSH, levels of cortisol were determined every six months for at least four years. Results showed that PSH occurred in 82.4 percent of CS patients and 46 percent of AI patients. PSH lasted for longer than 18 months in 50 percent of CS and 30 percent of AI patients. Furthermore, it lasted longer than 36 months for 35.7 percent of CS patients. In all patients, PSH was predicted by pre-surgery cortisol levels after the 1 mg-DST, but with less than 70 percent accuracy. In AI patients, a shorter-than-12-month duration of PSH was not predicted by any HPA parameter, but was significantly predicted by an absence of pre-surgery diagnosis of subclinical hypercortisolism. So, this study did not find any parameters that could significantly predict with high sensitivity and specificity the development or duration of PSH in all patients undergoing adrenalectomy. Consequently, the authors concluded that “the PSH occurrence and its duration are hardly predictable before surgery. All patients undergoing unilateral adrenalectomy should receive a steroid substitutive therapy.” From https://cushieblog.com/2017/12/14/patients-undergoing-adrenalectomy-should-receive-steroid-substitutive-therapy/
  5. Even after successful treatment, patients with Cushing’s disease who were older when diagnosed or had prolonged exposure to excess cortisol face a greater risk of dying or developing cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). Cushing’s disease is a rare condition where the body is exposed to excess cortisol – a stress hormone produced in the adrenal gland – for long periods of time. Researchers have long known that patients who have Cushing’s disease are at greater risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease than the average person. This study examined whether the risk could be eliminated or reduced when the disease is controlled. Researchers found that these risk factors remained long after patients were exposed to excess cortisol. “The longer patients with Cushing’s disease are exposed to excess cortisol and the older they are when diagnosed, the more likely they are to experience these challenges,” said Eliza B. Geer, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center and lead author of the study. “The findings demonstrate just how critical it is for Cushing’s disease to be diagnosed and treated quickly. Patients also need long-term follow-up care to help them achieve good outcomes.” The study found cured Cushing’s disease patients who had depression when they started to experience symptoms of the disease had an elevated risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. Men were more at risk than women, a trend that may be explained by a lack of follow-up care, according to the study. In addition, patients who had both Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. The study examined one of the largest cohorts of Cushing’s disease patients operated on by a single surgeon. The researchers retrospectively reviewed charts for 346 Cushing’s disease patients who were treated between 1980 and 2011. Researchers estimated the duration of exposure to excess cortisol by calculating how long symptoms lasted before the patient went into remission. The patients who were studied had an average exposure period of 40 months. The findings may have implications for people who take steroid medications, Geer said. People treated with high doses of steroid medications such as prednisone, hydrocortisone or dexamethasone are exposed to high levels of cortisol and may experience similar conditions as Cushing’s disease patients. “While steroid medications are useful for treating patients with a variety of conditions, the data suggests health care providers need to be aware that older patients or those who take steroid medications for long periods could be facing higher risk,” Geer said. “These patients should be monitored carefully while more study is done in this area.” From http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/256284.php
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