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  1. Introduction: Patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) represent a highly sensitive group during corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The effect of multiple comorbidities and immune system supression make the clinical picture complicated and treatment challenging. Case report: A 70-year-old female was admitted to a covid hospital with a severe form of COVID-19 pneumonia that required oxygen supplementation. Prior to her admission to the hospital she was diagnosed with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-dependent CS, and the treatment of hypercortisolism had not been started yet. Since the patient’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and with presumend immmune system supression due to CS, we decided on treatement with intraveonus immunoglobulins (IVIg) that enabled quick onset of immunomodulatory effect. All comorbidities were treated with standard of care. The patient’s condition quickly stabilized with no direct side effects of a given treatment. Conclusion: Treatment of COVID-19 in patients with CS faces many challenges due to the complexity of comorbidity effects, immunosupression and potential interactions of available medications both for treatment of COVID-19 and CS. So far, there are no guidelines for treatment of COVID-19 in patients with active CS. It is our opinion that immunomodulating therapies like IVIg might be an effective and safe treatment modality in this particularly fragile group of patients. Introduction Dealing with corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) focused medical attention on several sensitive population groups. While the knowledge is still improving, some of the recognized risk factors for severe form of the disease are male sex, older age, obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardio-vascular disease (1). This constellation of morbidities is particularly intriguing from endocrine point of view, since they are all features of patients with Cushing’s syndrome (CS). Another relevant feature of CS is a propensity for infections due to profound immune suppression, with prevalence of 21-51%; even more so, infections are the second cause of death (31%) in CS after disease progression, and are the main cause of death (37%) in patients who died within 90 days of diagnosis (2). Immune system alterations in CS lead to depression of both innate and adaptive immune responses, favoring not only commonly acquired but also opportunistic bacterial infections, fungal infections, and severe, disseminated viral infections (3). Susceptibility to infections directly positively correlates with cortisol level, and is more frequent in ectopic ACTH secretion (EAS). Hypercortisolism hampers the first-line response to external agents and consequent activation of the adaptive response (3). Consequently, there is a decrease in total number of T-cells and B-cells, as well as a reduction in T-helper cell activation, which might favor opportunistic and intracellular infections. On the other hand, an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, including interleukine-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) leads to persistent, low-grade inflammation. It is important to note that immune system changes are confirmed both during the active phase and while in remission of CS (3). In view of the aforementioned data, a few topics emerge regarding patients with CS and COVID-19. Initial clinical presentation may be altered – low-grade chronic inflammation and poor immune reaction might limit febrile response in the early phase of infection, aggravating timely diagnosis (4). Increased cytokine levels may put patients with CS at increased risk of severe course and progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). On the other hand, the rise in cytokine levels associated with exposure to external agents is significantly hampered, probably because of persistently elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion (4, 5). Patients with CS have a possibility for prolonged duration of viral infections and risk for superinfections leading to sepsis and increased mortality risk; this is especially relevant for hospitalized patients and mandates empirical prophylaxis with broad-spectrum antibiotics (6). Both COVID-19 and CS individually represent disease states of increased thromboembolic (TE) risk, requiring additional care (6). Due to very limited data, it is still not possible to address these topics with certainty and make recommendations for optimal management of these patients. Current clinical practice guidance for management of CS during COVID-19 commissioned by the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) emphasizes prompt and optimal control of hypercortisolism and adequate treatment of all comorbidities (7). Although individual circumstances must always be considered, we need more direct clinical experience, especially regarding the actual treatment of COVID-19 in this sensitive group. So far, there are only five published case studies of patients with CS and COVID-19, with eight patients in total (8–12). In this study, we present a patient with newly diagnosed ACTH-dependent CS who was diagnosed with COVID-19 before the initiation of specific medical treatment. Case Report A 70-year-old female was admitted to our Covid hospital due to bilateral interstitial pneumonia caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Six days before she was discharged from endocrinology department of another hospital where she was hospitalized due to newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus. Her personal history was unremarkable, and she was vaccinated with two doses of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm BBIBP. During this hospitalization Cushingoid features were noted (moon face, centripetal obesity, thin extremities with multiple hematomas, bilateral peripheral edema), as well as diabetes mellitus (HbA1c 8.7%), arterial hypertension (BP 180/100 mmHg), hypokalemia (2.0 mmol/L), mild leukocytosis (WBC 12.9x10e9/L) with neutrophilia, and mildly elevated CRP (12.3 mg/L). Hormonal functional testing confirmed ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome: morning ACTH 92.6 pg/mL (reference range 10-60 pg/mL), morning serum cortisol 1239 nmol/L (reference range 131-642 nmol/L), midnight serum cortisol 1241 nmol/L, lack of cortisol suppression in overnight dexamethasone suppression test (978 nmol/L). Pituitary MRI was unremarkable other than empty sella, and CT scan of thorax normal other than left adrenal hyperplasia. Diabetes mellitus was successfully controlled with metformin, hypertension with ACE-inhibitor, Ca-channel blocker and beta-blocker, and hypokalemia with potassium supplementation along with spironolactone. Steroidogenesis inhibitors were not available in this institution, but before referral to a tertiary care hospital she was tested for SARS-CoV-2, and the test came back positive (sample was obtained by nasopharyngeal swab). Since she was asymptomatic, with normal thoracic CT scan and stabile CRP level (9.1 mg/L), she was discharged with detailed recommendations for conduct in case of progression of COVID symptoms. Next day she started feeling malaise with episodes of fever (up to 38.2°C). Symptomatic therapy was advised in an outpatient clinic (no antiviral therapy was recommended), but 5 days later respiratory symptoms ensued. During examination, the patient was weak, with dyspnea and tachypnea (RR 22/min), afebrile (36.9°C) and with oxygen saturation (SO2) of 85% measured by pulse oximeter. Chest X-ray confirmed bilateral interstitial pneumonia with parenchymal consolidation in the right lower lung lobe, so she was referred to the COVID hospital. Laboratory analyses upon admission are presented in the Supplementary Table 1. In addition to her previous testing, elevated chromogranin A (CgA) level was verified (538.8 ng/mL, reference range 11-98.1). The patient was treated with supplemental oxygen with maximal flow of 13 l/min. For the reason of previously confirmed severe endogenous hypercortisolism, glucocorticoids were not administered. Due to limited therapeutic options and presumed further clinical deterioration, we decided to treat the patient with intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) 30 g iv for 5 days, starting from the 2nd day of hospitalization. We did not observe any side effects of a given treatment. In parallel, the patient received broad-spectrum antibiotics (ceftazidime and levofloxacin), proton pump inhibitor, LMWH in prophylactic dose, oral and parenteral potassium supplementation along with spironolactone. She continued with her previous antihypertensive therapy with good control of blood pressure. While the patient was on oxygen supplementation, glycaemia was controlled with short acting insulin before meals. Following given treatment, we observed clinical, biochemical (Supplementary Table 1.) and radiological improvement (Supplementary Figure 1). Oxygen supplementation was gradually discontinued. With regard to D-dimer levels and risk factors for TE events due to COVID-19 and CS, we performed color Doppler scan of lower extremities veins, and CT pulmonary angiography, but there were no signs of thrombosis. During hospital stay, there were no signs of secondary infection and cotrimoxazole was not added to the current treatment. The patient was discharged with advice to continue her prior medical therapy along with increased dose of spironolactone and initiation of rivaroxaban. She was referred to the tertiary institution for the initiation of steroidogenesis inhibitor and further diagnostics. Discussion Endogenous Cushing’s syndrome is a rare disease with an incidence of 0.7-2.4 million person-years in European population-based studies (13). Significant morbidity yields a standard mortality ratio of 3.7 (95%CI 2.3–5.3), with the highest mortality during the first year after initial presentation. COVID-19 pandemic imposes additional challenge to this fragile group of patients. Due to lack of solid experience, it is still difficult to define potential clinical course and outcome of patients with CS and COVID-19. In addition, currently there are no guidelines for management of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with active CS. So far, only two small case series followed patients with Cushing’s disease (CD) in various disease stages (not all were active) during COVID-19 pandemic (9, 12). Small number of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases (3/22 and 2/61) is clearly biased by shortness of analyzed period (one and a half, and three and a half months). Additionally, a small number of patients was actually tested by nasopharyngeal swab for SARS-CoV-2 even in the presence of indicative symptoms, albeit mild. Nevertheless, all these limitations included, it seems that the prevalence of COVID-19 might be greater in patients with CD than in general population (12). This is accordant with studies on patients on exogenous glucocorticoid (GC) treatment. Overall, there is a growing body of evidence that patients on chronic GC therapy are at higher risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and a severe course of disese, regardless of age and comorbidities (14). In many studies patients on high-dose GC therapy were at particularly high risk for a severe course of disease, so it is reasonable to assume that there is a dose-dependent effect (14). All patients except one with endogenous CS and COVID-19 presented in literature were hospitalized, with majority of them requiring oxygen supplementation, which classified them as serious cases of disease (8–12). Parameters of inflammation (namely CRP) were highly variable (from normal to elevated) and did not seem to reflect severity of COVID-19 consistently. Two patients had fatal outcome; one with postoperative hypocortisolism that required stress doses of hydrocortisone, and with terminal kidney failure as significant comorbidity; the other with suspected EAS who developed ARDS in contrast to normal CRP and absence of fever (9, 12). Based on reported cortisol levels in these patients, it seems that the severity of COVID-19 pneumonia depended on severity of hypercortisolism (8–12). A patient with probable EAS even developed ARDS, which adds to ongoing controversy regarding the risk of ARDS due to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with CS (3, 15). We ourselves have treated a severely obese female patient with active CD on pasireotide, who developed ARDS despite addition of high doses of methylprednisolone (unpublished data). Additional risk imposed by comorbidities cannot be underestimated (15, 16). This is particularly relevant for obesity, that not only hampers immune system (leading to increased levels of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α), but adipocytes represent a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 thanks to ACE2 receptor, crucial for virus attachment (15). Majority of depicted patients with active CS were already medically treated for hypercortisolism but with various compliance (sometimes very poor), and two young patients have just started steroidogenesis inhibitors (metyrapone/ketoconazole). Infection with SARS-CoV-2 was treated by national protocols that were mostly based on supportive care. These protocols changed over time, so a few patients received antiviral therapy (favipiravir), and one young patient with suspected EAS was treated with methylprednisolone along with high doses of ketoconazole (10). Treatment was complicated with adrenal insufficiency (AI) in three patients (8, 11, 12). We have presented a patient with CS and rapid development of serious case of COVID-19 pneumonia that required hospital admission and oxygen support. She was febrile and had positive laboratory parameters of inflammation. Her CS was active, with very high cortisol levels, no prior medical treatment and with clinical suspicion of EAS (ACTH-dependent disease of short duration, severe hypercortisolism, hypokalemia, very high CgA, no visible pituitary tumor). With this in mind, and with regard to rapid progression of COVID-19 pneumonia, it was our opinion that the patient required treatment with quick onset and presumable immune system modulation. A logical approach to treatment of CS during COVID-19 pandemic includes meticulous therapy for comorbidities (namely antihypertensives, anti-diabetic drugs, low molecular weight heparin, etc.), and steroidogenesis inhibitors for treatment for hypercortisolemia (7). While some of these drugs demonstrate quick onset of action regarding normalization of cortisol level (and hence improve clinical comorbidities), rapid effects on immune system responses are not likely, which might be of great relevance in case of acute infection. Secondly, adrenolytic therapy increases a risk of AI, which can be even more perilous than CS in case of infection or other stress situations (8, 12, 15, 16). A modified “block and replace” approach may be considered, where addition of hydrocortisone could diminish the risk of AI (7). Still, there are a few potential pitfalls with this regimen as well. Some people fail to respond to high doses of adrenal-blocking agents due to genetic differences in the steroidogenic enzymes, since therapeutic responses to metyrapone and ketoconazole in patients with CS are associated with the polymorphism in the CYP17A1 gene (17). Additionally, there are not enough data about possible interactions between adrenolytic drugs (majority of them being metabolized through the CYP450/CYP3A4 pathway) and medications used to treat COVID-19, most of which are only just emerging (18). Special concerns, amplified with similar potential effects of SARS-CoV-2 itself as well as specific therapies are liver dysfunction (metyrapone, ketoconazole), hypokalemia (metyrapone, ketoconazole), QT-interval prolongation (ketoconazole, osilodrostat), gastrointestinal distress (mitotane, osilodrostat, etomidate) (18). Metyrapone may cause accumulation of androgenic precursors secondary to the blockade of cortisol synthesis, that can virtually enhance expression of transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), found to be essential to activate the viral spikes, induce viral spread, and pathogenesis in the infected hosts (19). Another important issue concerns biochemical estimation of disease control (and hence risk for AI), since most commercially available assays can overestimate cortisol level in patients treated with metyrapone due to cross-reactivity with the precursor 11-deoxicortisol (7, 15). Mass spectrometry is a method of choice to overcome this problem, but it is not available in many centers. Some centers advocate titration and/or temporary halting medical therapies in the treatment of patients with CS in the context of COVID-19 infection (20). Treatement was stopped in a few patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms who were then given high dose GC for a few days with no long-term complications, and with full recovery (20). There are no data about the effect of anti-viral drugs in patients with CS and COVID-19. A special concern refers to adipose tissuse, as adipose tissue is difficult for antiviral drugs to reach. It cannot be excluded that the constant release of viral replicas from the adipose tissue reservoir may interfere with COVID-19 infection treatment, delaying its resolution and favoring a worse prognosis (15). If antiviral drugs are started, it is suggested that immunocompromised patients may require prolonged therapy (18). However, the timing is difficult in practice and candidates for antivirals are limited. Since the clinical course of COVID-19 only initially depends on viral replication, immunomodulatory therapy emerged as a valuable treatment option to control the host immune response. This became apparent ever since RECOVERY trial proved efficacy of glucocortiods (21). But this therapeutic option is fairly inapplicable in patients with active CS, since glucocorticoid treatment in chronic hypercortisolism seems to enhance immune system alterations (22). In parallel with the development of new agents, it is prudent to study the efficacy of existing therapeutic options with acceptable safety profile (20). Beside glucocorticoids, inflammation blockers, intravenous immunoglobulin and convalescent plasma were used in various settings (23). Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is a blood product prepared from the serum pooled from thousands of healthy donors, containing a mixture of polyclonal IgG antibodies, mostly IgG1 and IgG2 subclasses (24, 25). Initial rationale for its use was immunodefficiency due to hypoglobulinemia. Since then it has been shown that IVIg exerts pleiotropic immunomodulating action involving both innate and adaptive immunity and it has been used in a variety of diseases (26). In previous studies on MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) using IVIg showed beneficial clinical effects (25). Although pathogenesis of COVID-19 has not be fully elucidated, there is a consensus that immune-mediated inflammation plays an important role in the progression of this disease, just as it did in prior coronavirus infections (27). In this context, the actual role of IVIg in COVID-19 patients might be not to boost the immune system, but through its immunomodulatory effect to suppress a hyperactive immune response that is seen in some patients (28). So far, a limited number of studies, case series and meta-analyses demonstrate a promising potential of IVIg in patients with COVID-19. The effect was demonstrated in terms of mortality, improvement of clinical symptoms, laboratory examinations, imaging and length of hospital stay, especially in patients with moderate/severe form of the disease, and with emphasis on early administration (within 3 days of admission) (24, 25, 27–31). A recent double blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3, randomized trial tested hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin (hIVIg) to SARS-CoV-2 derived from recovered donors with no demonstrated effect compared with standard of care, but therapy was administered in patients symptomatic up to 12 days (32). Additional clinical trials are underway, hopefully with more guidance for proper selection of patients that might benefit from this type of treatment. Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the first case of IVIg treatment in a COVID-19 patient with CS. It is our opinion that immune-modulating properties of IVIg might present an attractive treatment option, especially in those CS patients that show rapid clinical progression and positive laboratory parameters of inflammation. While we await for new therapeutic modalities for COVID-19 and while some of the modalities remain not widely available, IVIg is more accessible, safe method, which could be rescuing in carefully selected patients. Of note, we consider our patient’s vaccinal status as an unquestionable positive contributor to the favorable outcome Data Availability Statement The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation. Ethics Statement Ethical review and approval was not required for the study on human participants in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements. The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study. Written informed consent was obtained from the individual(s) for the publication of any potentially identifiable images or data included in this article. Author Contributions BP, AS, JV, TG, MJ-L, JV, VS, ZG and TA-V analyzed and interpreted the patient data. BP, AP, DI, and DJ were major contributors in writing the manuscript. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version. Conflict of Interest The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Publisher’s Note All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher. Supplementary Material The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2022.889928/full#supplementary-material References 1. Hu J, Wang Y. The Clinical Characteristics and Risk Factors of Severe COVID-19. Gerontology (2021) 67(3):255–66. doi: 10.1159/000513400 PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar 2. 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Lancet (2022) 399(10324):530–40. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00101-5 PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar Keywords: Cushing’s syndrome, COVID-19, IVIg, hypercortisolism, immunomodulation, immunosuppression Citation: Popovic B, Radovanovic Spurnic A, Velickovic J, Plavsic A, Jecmenica-Lukic M, Glisic T, Ilic D, Jeremic D, Vratonjic J, Samardzic V, Gluvic Z and Adzic-Vukicevic T (2022) Successful Immunomodulatory Treatment of COVID-19 in a Patient With Severe ACTH-Dependent Cushing’s Syndrome: A Case Report and Review of Literature. Front. Endocrinol. 13:889928. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.889928 Received: 04 March 2022; Accepted: 17 May 2022; Published: 22 June 2022. Edited by: Giuseppe Reimondo, University of Turin, Italy Reviewed by: Nora Maria Elvira Albiger, Veneto Institute of Oncology (IRCCS), Italy Miguel Debono, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, United Kingdom Copyright © 2022 Popovic, Radovanovic Spurnic, Velickovic, Plavsic, Jecmenica-Lukic, Glisic, Ilic, Jeremic, Vratonjic, Samardzic, Gluvic and Adzic-Vukicevic. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. *Correspondence: Bojana Popovic, popbojana@gmail.com Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher. From https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2022.889928/full
  2. Abstract Summary The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is of an unprecedented magnitude and has made it challenging to properly treat patients with urgent or rare endocrine disorders. Little is known about the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with rare endocrine malignancies, such as pituitary carcinoma. We describe the case of a 43-year-old patient with adrenocorticotrophic hormone-secreting pituitary carcinoma who developed a severe COVID-19 infection. He had stabilized Cushing’s disease after multiple lines of treatment and was currently receiving maintenance immunotherapy with nivolumab (240 mg every 2 weeks) and steroidogenesis inhibition with ketoconazole (800 mg daily). On admission, he was urgently intubated for respiratory exhaustion. Supplementation of corticosteroid requirements consisted of high-dose dexamethasone, in analogy with the RECOVERY trial, followed by the reintroduction of ketoconazole under the coverage of a hydrocortisone stress regimen, which was continued at a dose depending on the current level of stress. He had a prolonged and complicated stay at the intensive care unit but was eventually discharged and able to continue his rehabilitation. The case points out that multiple risk factors for severe COVID-19 are present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. ‘Block-replacement’ therapy with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred in this patient population. Learning points Comorbidities for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are frequently present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome. ‘Block-replacement’ with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements might be preferred to reduce the need for biochemical monitoring and avoid adrenal insufficiency. The optimal corticosteroid dose/choice for COVID-19 is unclear, especially in patients with endogenous glucocorticoid excess. First-line surgery vs initial disease control with steroidogenesis inhibitors for Cushing’s disease should be discussed depending on the current healthcare situation. Keywords: Adult; Male; Other; Belgium; Pituitary; Adrenal; Neuroendocrinology; Oncology; Insight into disease pathogenesis or mechanism of therapy; February; 2022 Background The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had a significant impact on the health care systems to date. The clinical presentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is diverse, ranging from asymptomatic illness to respiratory failure requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Risk factors for severe course include old age, male gender, comorbidities such as arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung-, heart-, liver- and kidney disease, malignancy, immunodeficiency and pregnancy (1). Little is known about the risk of COVID-19 in patients with rare endocrine malignancies, such as pituitary carcinoma. Case presentation This case concerns a 43-year-old man with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary carcinoma (with cerebellar and cervical drop metastases) with a severe COVID-19 infection. He had previously received multiple treatment modalities including surgery, radiotherapy, ketoconazole, pasireotide, cabergoline, bilateral (subtotal) adrenalectomy and temozolomide chemotherapy as described elsewhere (2). His most recent therapy was a combination of immune checkpoint inhibitors consisting of ipilimumab (3 mg/kg) and nivolumab (1 mg/kg) (anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1, respectively) every 3 weeks for four cycles, after which maintenance therapy with nivolumab (240 mg) every 2 weeks was continued. Residual endogenous cortisol production was inhibited with ketoconazole 800 mg daily. He had stabilized disease with a decrease in plasma ACTH, urinary free cortisol and stable radiological findings (2). Surgical resection of the left adrenal remnant was planned but was not carried out due to the development of a COVID-19 infection. In March 2021, he consulted our emergency department for severe respiratory complaints. He had been suffering from upper respiratory tract symptoms for one week, with progressive dyspnoea in the last three days. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 the day before admission. On examination, his O2 saturation was 72%, with tachypnoea (40/min) and bilateral pulmonary crepitations. His temperature was 37.2°C, blood pressure 124/86 mmHg and pulse rate 112 bpm. High-flow oxygen therapy was initiated but yielded insufficient improvement (O2 saturation of 89% and tachypnoea 35/min). He was urgently intubated for respiratory exhaustion. Investigation Initial investigations showed type 1 respiratory insufficiency with PaO2 of 52.5 mmHg (normal 75–90), PaCO2 of 33.0 mmHg (normal 36–44), pH of 7.47 (normal 7.35–7.45) and a P/F ratio of 65.7 (normal >300). His inflammatory parameters were elevated with C-reactive protein level of 275.7 mg/L (normal <5·0) and white blood cell count of 7.1 × 10⁹ per L with 72.3% neutrophils. His most recent morning plasma ACTH-cortisol level (measured using the Elecsys electrochemiluminescence immunoassays on a Cobas 8000 immunoanalyzer [Roche Diagnostics]) before his admission was 213 ng/L (normal 7.2–63) and 195 µg/L (normal 62–180) respectively, while a repeat measurement 3 weeks after his admission demonstrated increased cortisol levels of 547 µg/L (possibly iatrogenic due to treatment with high-dose hydrocortisone) and a decreased ACTH of 130 ng/L. Treatment On admission, he was started on high-dose dexamethasone therapy for 10 days together with broad-spectrum antibiotics for positive sputum cultures containing Serratia, methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae. Thromboprophylaxis with an intermediate dose of low molecular weight heparin (tinzaparin 14 000 units daily for a body weight of 119 kg) was initiated. A ‘block-replacement’ regimen was adopted with the continuation of ketoconazole (restarted on day 11) in view of his endocrine treatment and the supplementation of hydrocortisone at a dose depending on the current level of stress. The consecutive daily dose of hydrocortisone and ketoconazole is shown in Fig. 1. View Full Size Figure 1 ‘Block-replacement’ therapy with ketoconazole and hydrocortisone/dexamethasone. Dexamethasone 10 mg daily was initially started as COVID-19 treatment, followed by hydrocortisone at a dose consistent with current levels of stress. Ketoconazole was restarted on day 11 and titrated to a dose of 800 mg daily to suppress endogenous glucocorticoid production. Citation: Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports 2022, 1; 10.1530/EDM-21-0182 Download Figure Download figure as PowerPoint slide Outcome and follow-up He developed multiple organ involvement, including metabolic acidosis, acute renal failure requiring continuous venovenous hemofiltration, acute coronary syndrome type 2, septic thrombophlebitis of the right jugular vein, and critical illness polyneuropathy. He was readmitted twice to the ICU, for ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line-associated bloodstream infection respectively. He eventually recovered and was discharged from the hospital to continue his rehabilitation. Discussion We describe the case of a patient with severe COVID-19 infection with active Cushing’s disease due to pituitary carcinoma, who was treated with high-dose dexamethasone followed by ‘block-replacement’ therapy with hydrocortisone in combination with off-label use of ketoconazole as a steroidogenesis inhibitor. His hospitalization was prolonged by multiple readmissions to the ICU for infectious causes. Our case illustrates the presence of multiple comorbidities for a severe and complicated course of COVID-19 in a patient with active Cushing’s disease. Dexamethasone was initially chosen as the preferred corticosteroid therapy, in analogy with the RECOVERY trial, in which dexamethasone at a dose of 6mg once daily (oral or i.v.) resulted in lower 28-day mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen therapy or invasive mechanical ventilation (3). However, the optimal dose/choice of corticosteroid therapy is unclear, especially in a patient population with pre-existing hypercortisolaemia. A similar survival benefit for hydrocortisone compared to dexamethasone has yet to be convincingly demonstrated. This may be explained by differences in anti-inflammatory activity but could also be due to the fact that recent studies with hydrocortisone were stopped early and were underpowered (4, 5). Multiple risk factors for a complicated course of COVID-19 are present in patients with Cushing’s syndrome and might increase morbidity and mortality (6, 7). These include a history of obesity, arterial hypertension and impaired glucose metabolism. Prevention and treatment of these pre-existing comorbidities are essential. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome also have an increased thromboembolic risk, which is further accentuated by the development of severe COVID-19 infection (6, 7). Thromboprophylaxis with low molecular weight heparin is associated with lower mortality in COVID-19 patients with high sepsis‐induced coagulopathy score or high D-dimer levels (8) and is presently widely used in the treatment of severe COVID-19 disease (9). Subsequently, this treatment is indicated in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with Cushing’s syndrome. It is unclear whether therapeutic anticoagulation dosing could provide additional benefits (6, 7). An algorithm based on the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis-Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation score was proposed to evaluate the ideal anticoagulation therapy in severe/critical COVID-19 patients, with an indication for therapeutic low molecular weight heparin dose at a score ≥5 (9). Furthermore, the chronic cortisol excess induces suppression of the innate and adaptive immune response. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome, especially when severe and active, should be considered immunocompromised and have increased susceptibility for viral and other (hospital-acquired) infections. Prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jirovecii with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole should therefore be considered (6, 7). Additionally, there is a particular link between the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and Cushing’s syndrome. The SARS-CoV-2 virus (as well as other coronaviruses) enter human cells by binding the ACE2 receptor. The transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), expressed by endothelial cells, is additionally required for the priming of the spike-protein of SARS-CoV-2, leading to viral entry. TMPRSS2 was studied in prostate cancer and found to be regulated by androgen signalling. Consequently, the androgen excess frequently associated with Cushing’s syndrome might be an additional risk factor for contracting COVID-19 via higher TMPRSS2 expression (10), especially in women, in whom the effect of excess androgen would be more noticeable compared to male patients with Cushing’s syndrome. Treating Cushing’s syndrome with a ‘block-replacement’ approach, with suppression of endogenous steroidogenesis and supplementation of corticosteroid requirements, is an approach that should be considered, especially in severe or cyclic disease. The use of this method might decrease the need for monitoring and reduce the occurrence of adrenal insufficiency (7). Our patient was on treatment with ketoconazole, which was interrupted at initial presentation and then restarted under the coverage of a hydrocortisone stress regimen. Ketoconazole was chosen because of its availability. Advantages of ketoconazole over metyrapone include its antifungal activity with the potential for prevention of invasive pulmonary fungal infections, as well as its antiandrogen action (especially in female patients) and subsequent inhibition of TMPRSS2 expression (10). Regular monitoring of the liver function (every month for the first 3 months, at therapy initiation or dose increase) is necessary. Caution is needed due to its inhibition of multiple cytochrome P450 enzymes (including CYP3A4) and subsequently greater risk of drug-drug interactions vs metyrapone (7, 10). Another disadvantage of ketoconazole is the need for oral administration. In our patient, ketoconazole was delivered through a nasogastric tube. i.v. etomidate is an alternative in case of an unavailable enteral route. Finally, as a general point, the first-line treatment of a patient with a novel diagnosis of Cushing’s disease is transsphenoidal surgery. Recent endocrine recommendations pointed out the possibility of initial disease control with steroidogenesis inhibitors in patients without an indication for urgent intervention during a high prevalence of COVID-19 (7). This would allow the optimalization of metabolic parameters; emphasizing that the short-to mid-term prognosis is related to the cortisol excess and not its cause. Surgery could then be postponed until the health situation allows for safe elective surgery (7). This decision depends of course on the evolution of COVID-19 and the healthcare system in each country and should be closely monitored by policymakers and physicians. Declaration of interest The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported. Funding This work did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sector. Patient consent Written informed consent for publication of their clinical details and/or clinical images was obtained from the patient. Author contribution statement J M K de Filette is an endocrinologist-in-training and was the main author. All authors were involved in the clinical care of the patient. All authors contributed to the reviewing and editing process and approved the final version of the manuscript. References 1↑ Gao Y-D, Ding M, Dong X, Zhang J-J, Kursat Azkur A, Azkur D, Gan H, Sun Y-L, Fu W, Li W, et al.Risk factors for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients: a review. Allergy 2021 76 428–455.(https://doi.org/10.1111/all.14657) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 2↑ Sol B, de Filette JMK, Awada G, Raeymaeckers S, Aspeslagh S, Andreescu CE, Neyns B, Velkeniers B. Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for ACTH-secreting pituitary carcinoma: a new emerging treatment? European Journal of Endocrinology 2021 184 K1–K5. (https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-0151) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 3↑ The RECOVERY Collaborative Group. Dexamethasone in hospitalized patients with Covid-19. 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COVID-19 and Cushing’s syndrome: recommendations for a special population with endogenous glucocorticoid excess. Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology 2020 8 654–656. (https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(2030215-1) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 7↑ Newell-Price J, Nieman LK, Reincke M, Tabarin A. ENDOCRINOLOGY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19: Management of Cushing’s syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology 2020 183 G1–G7. (https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-0352) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 8↑ Tang N, Bai H, Chen X, Gong J, Li D, Sun Z. Anticoagulant treatment is associated with decreased mortality in severe coronavirus disease 2019 patients with coagulopathy. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2020 18 1094–1099. (https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.14817) Search Google Scholar Export Citation 9↑ Carfora V, Spiniello G, Ricciolino R, Di Mauro M, Migliaccio MG, Mottola FF, Verde N, Coppola N & Vanvitelli COVID-19 Group. Anticoagulant treatment in COVID-19: a narrative review. 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  3. Just in case – hopefully, not needed! https://www.covidtests.gov/
  4. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Dec 24;12:805647. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.805647. eCollection 2021. ABSTRACT Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is a life-threatening disorder, with increased morbidity and mortality, especially in case of an acute illness that can increase the requirement of cortisol. A novel infectious disease, termed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), appeared in 2020. Therefore, AI patients are experiencing a novel challenge: the risk of infection. In our experience, a prompt contact to the Endocrine center (with a telemedicine consultation) and a full awareness of diseases (cortisol deficiency, COVID-19 and the self-management of an adrenal crisis) are important to motivate patients. Vaccine is an effective treatment to prevent hospitalization and aggressive course of COVID-19. Some patients manifest challenges due to inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy, resulting in a delay in the acceptance of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services. Therefore, an effort of all physicians must be conducted in order to advise patients with AI. In this short review, we try to answer some frequently asked questions regarding the management of patients with AI. PMID:35002978 | PMC:PMC8739913 | DOI:10.3389/fendo.2021.805647 From https://www.docwirenews.com/abstracts/frequently-asked-questions-in-patients-with-adrenal-insufficiency-in-the-time-of-covid-19-2/
  5. Researchers in Europe say they have shown for the first time that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks the human stress system by limiting how our adrenal glands can respond to the threat of Covid-19. According to a study, the coronavirus targets the adrenal glands, thereby weakening the body’s ability to produce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline needed to help battle a serious infection. Part of the body’s defence mechanism, these glands are indispensable for our survival of stressful situations, particularly with a coronavirus infection. The research was published by a group of scientists in London, United Kingdom; Zurich, Switzerland; and Dresden and Regensburg in Germany, in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology last month (November 2021). “The results of our latest work now show for the first time that the virus directly affects the human stress system to a relevant extent,” says Dr Stefan Bornstein, director of the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic III and the Centre for Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in Dresden. Whether these changes directly contribute to adrenal insufficiency, or even lead to long Covid is still unclear, he says. This question must be investigated in further clinical studies. Pointing to recent research showing the effect of inhaling steroids to prevent clinical deterioration in patients with Covid-19, the researchers say certain drugs may be able to help limit this effect of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “This evidence underlines the potentially important role for adrenal steroids in coping with Covid-19,” scientists at the University of Zurich say. The researchers analysed the data of 40 deceased Covid-19 patients in Dresden and found that their tissue samples showed clear signs of adrenal gland inflammation. From https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/2021/12/22/how-the-sars-cov-2-virus-undermines-our-bodys-039fight039-response
  6. Published:November 18, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(21)00291-6 COVID-19 develops due to infection with SARS-CoV-2, which particularly in elderly with certain comorbidities (eg, metabolic syndrome) 1 can cause severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Some patients with severe COVID-19 will develop a life-threatening sepsis with its typical manifestations including disseminated intravascular coagulation and multiorgan dysfunction. 2 Latest evidence suggests that even early treatment with inhaled steroids such as budesonide might prevent clinical deterioration in patients with COVID-19. 3 This evidence underlines the potentially important role for adrenal steroids in coping with COVID-19. The adrenal gland is an effector organ of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the main source of glucocorticoids, which are critical to manage and to survive sepsis. Therefore, patients with pre-existing adrenal insufficiency are advised to double their doses of glucocorticoid supplementation after developing moderate to more severe forms of COVID-19. 4 • View related content for this article Adrenal glands are vulnerable to sepsis-induced organ damage and their high vascularisation and blood supply makes them particularly susceptible to endothelial dysfunction and haemorrhage. Accordingly, adrenal endothelial damage, bilateral haemorrhages, and infarctions have been already reported in patients with COVID-19. 5 Adrenal glands contain the highest concentration of antioxidants to compensate enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species, side products of steroidogenesis, which together with elevated intra-adrenal inflammation can contribute to adrenocortical cell death. 6 Furthermore, sepsis-associated critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency, which describes coexistence of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal dysfunction, reduced cortisol metabolism, and tissue resistance to glucocorticoids, was reported in critically ill patients with COVID-19. 7 Low cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) responses during acute phase of infections consistent with critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency diagnosis (random plasma cortisol level lower than 10 μg/dL) were reported in one study with patients suffering from mild to moderate COVID-19 manifestations. 8 It is however possible those other factors triggered by COVID-19 such as hypothalamic or pituitary damage, adrenal infarcts, or previously undiagnosed conditions, such as antiphospholipid syndrome, might be responsible for reduced function of adrenal glands. However, contrary to this observation, a study with patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 revealed a very high cortisol response with values exceeding 744 nmol/L, which were positively correlated with severity of disease. 9 In this clinical study, 9 highly elevated cortisol concentrations showed an adequate adrenal cortisol production possibly reflecting the elevated stress level of those severely affected patients. 9 However, since ACTH measurements were not done, it is impossible to verify whether high concentrations of cortisol in those patients resulted from an increment of cortisol, or were confounded by reduced glucocorticoid metabolism. 9 A critical and yet unsolved major question is whether SARS-CoV-2 infection can contribute either directly or indirectly to adrenal gland dysfunction observed in some patients with COVID-19 or contribute to the slow recovery of some patients with long COVID. We performed a comprehensive histopathological examination of adrenal tissue sections from autopsies of patients that died due to COVID-19 (40 cases), collected from three different pathology centres in Regensburg, Dresden, and Zurich (appendix pp 1–3). We observed evidence of cellular damage and frequently small vessel vasculitis (endotheliitis) in the periadrenal fat tissue (six cases with low and 13 cases with high density; appendix p 10) and much milder occurrence in adrenal parenchyma (ten cases with low and one case with moderate score; appendix p 10), but no evidence of thrombi formation was found (appendix p 10). Endotheliitis has been scored according to a semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry analysis as described in the appendix (p 4). Additionally, in the majority of cases (38 cases), we noticed enhanced perivascular lymphoplasmacellular infiltration of different density and sporadically a mild extravasation of erythrocytes (appendix p 10). However, no evidence of widespread haemorrhages and degradation of adrenocortical cells were found, which is consistent with histological findings reported previously. 5 In another autopsy study analysing adrenal glands of patients with COVID-19, additional signs of acute fibrinoid necrosis of small vessels in adrenal parenchyma, subendothelial vacuolisation and apoptotic debris were found. 5 Adrenal gland is frequently targeted by bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV, 10 which was responsible for the 2002–04 outbreak of SARS in Asia. Considering that SARS-CoV-2 shares cellular receptors with SARS-CoV, including angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane protease serine subtype 2, its tropism to the adrenal gland is therefore conceivable. To investigate whether adrenal vascular cells and possibly steroid-producing cells are direct targets of SARS-CoV-2, we examined SARS-CoV-2 presence in adrenal gland tissues obtained from the 40 patients with COVID-19 (appendix pp 1–3). Adrenal tissues from patients who died before the COVID-19 pandemic were used as negative controls to validate antibody specificity. Using a monoclonal antibody (clone 1A9; appendix p 11), we detected SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in adrenocortical cells in 18 (45%) of 40 adrenal gland tissues (figure B; appendix p 12). In the same number of adrenal tissues (18 [45%] of 40), we have detected SARS-CoV-2 mRNA using in situ hybridisation (ISH; figure A; appendix p 12). The concordance rate between immunohistochemistry and ISH methods was 90% (36/40). Scattered and rather focal expression pattern of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was found in the adrenal cortex (figure A and B; appendix p 12). In addition, SARS-CoV-2 expression was confirmed in 15 out of 30 adrenal gland tissues of patients with COVID-19 by multiplex RT-qPCR (appendix pp 6–7). The concordance between ISH, immunohistochemistry, and RT-qPCR techniques for SARS-CoV-2 positivity was only 23%, which is a technical limitation of our study possibly reflecting the low number of virus-positive cells. However, when considering triple-negative samples, an overall 53% consensus was found (appendix pp 7–8). FigureDetection of SARS-CoV-2 in human adrenal gland from a patient who died due to COVID-19 Show full caption View Large Image Figure Viewer Download Hi-res image Download (PPT) Finally, to confirm the identity of infected cells, we have performed an ultrastructural analysis of adrenal tissue from a triple-positive patient case (by immunohistochemistry, ISH, and RT-qPCR), and found numerous SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particles in cells enriched with liposomes, which are typical markers of adrenocortical cells (figure C). The cortical identity of SARS-CoV-2 spike positive cells was also shown using serial tissue sections, demarcating regions with double positivity for viral protein and StAR RNA (appendix p 12). Furthermore, susceptibility of adrenocortical cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by in-vitro experiments (appendix p 7) showing detection of viral spike protein in adrenocortical carcinoma cells (NCI-H295R) cultured in a medium containing SARS-CoV-2 (figure D), and its absence in mock-treated control cells (figure E). We showed an uptake of viral particles in the adrenocortical cells, by ISH, immunohistochemistry, RT-qPCR and electron microscopy (figure A–C). Mechanistically, an uptake of SARS-CoV-2 like particles might involve expression of ACE2 in vascular cells (appendix p 13) and perhaps of the shorter isoform of ACE2 together with TMPRSS2 and other known or currently unknown virus-entry facilitating factors in adrenocortical cells (appendix p 13). An example of such factor is scavenger receptor type 1, which is highly expressed in adrenocortical cells. 11 Several forms of regulated cell necrosis were implicated in sepsis-mediated adrenal gland damage. 6 One of the prime examples of regulated necrosis triggered by sepsis-associated tissue inflammation is necroptosis. The necrotic process is characterised by loss of membrane integrity and release of danger-associated molecular patterns, which further promote tissue inflammation (necroinflammation) involving enhanced activation of the complement system and related activation of neutrophils. Whether necroptosis might be involved in COVID-19-associated adrenal damage is currently unknown. In our study, we showed prominent expression of phospho Mixed Lineage Kinase Domain Like Pseudokinase (pMLKL) indicating necroptosis activation in adrenomedullary cells (appendix p 14) in adrenal glands of COVID-19 patients. However, since we have also observed pMLKL expression in adrenal glands obtained from autopsies done before the COVID-19 pandemic (controls), necroptosis activation in medullary cells might be a rather frequent and SARS-CoV-2 independent event. However, contrary to the adrenal medulla, pMLKL positivity in the adrenal cortex was only found in virus-positive regions (appendix p 14). This finding suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection might have directly triggered activation of necroptosis in infected cells in the adrenal cortex, whereas pMLKL expression in the adrenal medulla seems rather an indirect consequence of systemic inflammation. In summary, in our study of 40 patients who died from COVID-19, we did not observe widespread degradation of human adrenals that might lead to manifestation of the adrenal crisis. However, our study shows that the adrenal gland is a prominent target for the viral infection and ensuing cellular damage, which could trigger a predisposition for adrenal dysfunction. Whether those changes directly contribute to adrenal insufficiency seen in some patients with COVID-19 or lead to its complications (such as long COVID) remains unclear. Large multicentre clinical studies should address this question. WK, HC, and SRB declare funds from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (project number 314061271, TRR 205/1 [“The Adrenal: Central Relay in Health and Disease”] to WK and SRB; HA 8297/1-1 to HC), during the conduct of this Correspondence. All other authors declare no competing interests. We thank Maria Schuster, Linda Friedrich, and Uta Lehnert for performing some of the immunohistochemical staining and in-situ hybridisation. Supplementary Material Download .pdf (1.48 MB) Help with pdf files Supplementary appendix References 1. Bornstein SR Rubino F Khunti K et al. Practical recommendations for the management of diabetes in patients with COVID-19. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020; 8: 546-550 View in Article Scopus (382) PubMed Summary Full Text Full Text PDF Google Scholar 2. Li H Liu L Zhang D et al. SARS-CoV-2 and viral sepsis: observations and hypotheses. Lancet. 2020; 395: 1517-1520 View in Article Scopus (507) PubMed Summary Full Text Full Text PDF Google Scholar 3. Ramakrishnan S, Nicolau DV Jr, Langford B, et al. Inhaled budesonide in the treatment of early COVID-19 (STOIC): a phase 2, open-label, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Respir Med 202; 9: 763–72. View in Article Google Scholar 4. Isidori AM Pofi R Hasenmajer V Lenzi A Pivonello R Use of glucocorticoids in patients with adrenal insufficiency and COVID-19 infection. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020; 8: 472-473 View in Article Scopus (23) PubMed Summary Full Text Full Text PDF Google Scholar 5. Iuga AC Marboe CC Yilmaz MM Lefkowitch JH Gauran C Lagana SM Adrenal vascular changes in COVID-19 autopsies. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2020; 144: 1159-1160 View in Article Scopus (17) PubMed Crossref Google Scholar 6. Tonnus W Gembardt F Latk M et al. The clinical relevance of necroinflammation-highlighting the importance of acute kidney injury and the adrenal glands. Cell Death Differ. 2019; 26: 68-82 View in Article Scopus (7) PubMed Crossref Google Scholar 7. Hashim M Athar S Gaba WH New onset adrenal insufficiency in a patient with COVID-19. BMJ Case Rep. 2021; 14e237690 View in Article Scopus (0) PubMed Crossref Google Scholar 8. Alzahrani AS Mukhtar N Aljomaiah A et al. The impact of COVID-19 viral infection on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Endocr Pract. 2021; 27: 83-89 View in Article PubMed Summary Full Text Full Text PDF Google Scholar 9. Tan T Khoo B Mills EG et al. Association between high serum total cortisol concentrations and mortality from COVID-19. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2020; 8: 659-660 View in Article Scopus (69) PubMed Summary Full Text Full Text PDF Google Scholar 10. Ding Y He L Zhang Q et al. Organ distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in SARS patients: implications for pathogenesis and virus transmission pathways. J Pathol. 2004; 203: 622-630 View in Article Scopus (606) PubMed Crossref Google Scholar 11. Wei C Wan L Yan Q et al. HDL-scavenger receptor B type 1 facilitates SARS-CoV-2 entry. Nat Metab. 2020; 2: 1391-1400 View in Article Scopus (52) PubMed Crossref Google Scholar Article Info Publication History Published: November 18, 2021 Identification DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(21)00291-6 From https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(21)00291-6/fulltext
  7. This article was originally published here J Med Case Rep. 2021 Nov 1;15(1):544. doi: 10.1186/s13256-021-03127-3. ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: This report describes the case of a patient whose pituitary microadenoma resolved after he contracted coronavirus disease 2019. To our knowledge, this is one of the first reported cases of pituitary tumor resolution due to viral illness. We present this case to further investigate the relationship between inflammatory response and tumor remission. CASE PRESENTATION: A 32-year-old man in Yemen presented to the hospital with fever, low blood oxygen saturation, and shortness of breath. The patient was diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019. Past medical history included pituitary microadenoma that was diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging and secondary adrenal insufficiency, which was treated with steroids. Due to the severity of coronavirus disease 2019, he was treated with steroids and supportive care. Three months after his initial presentation to the hospital, brain magnetic resonance imaging was performed and compared with past scans. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed changes in the microadenoma, including the disappearance of the hypointense lesion and hyperintense enhancement observed on the previous scan. CONCLUSIONS: Pituitary adenomas rarely undergo spontaneous resolution. Therefore, we hypothesized that tumor resolution was secondary to an immune response to coronavirus disease 2019. PMID:34724974 | DOI:10.1186/s13256-021-03127-3
  8. I'm getting mine (Moderna) on Wednesday. Quick takeaway: I have adrenal insufficiency (one adrenal was removed with my kidney due to cancer, steroid-dependent (post-Cushing’s Disease), growth hormone insufficiency, panhypopituitary. I had some issues after my first COVID-19 injection (Moderna) but not too bad. My second injection was March 15, 2021. This time I was smart and updosed on my Cortef (hydrocortisone) right after the shot. My main side effects this time were chills, extreme thirst, fatigue…and a craving for salad(!) For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 21, 2021 Contact: Media Relations (404) 639-3286 Today, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and CDC’s recommendation for use are important steps forward as we work to stay ahead of the virus and keep Americans safe. For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series: 65 years and older Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago. There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. Millions of people are newly eligible to receive a booster shot and will benefit from additional protection. However, today’s action should not distract from the critical work of ensuring that unvaccinated people take the first step and get an initial COVID-19 vaccine. More than 65 million Americans remain unvaccinated, leaving themselves – and their children, families, loved ones, and communities– vulnerable. Available data right now show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. The following is attributable to Dr. Walensky: “These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.” ### U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICESexternal icon CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.
  9. What You Need to Know COVID-19 Vaccine booster shots are available for the following Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months ago and are: 65 years and older Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions Age 18+ who work in high-risk settings Age 18+ who live in high-risk settings Those "underlying medical conditions" include diabetes and obesity.
  10. As of September 1, 2021, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has infected over 219 million and caused the deaths of over 4.5 million worldwide. Although COVID-19 has been traditionally associated with its ability to cause varied symptoms resembling acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), emerging scientific evidence has demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 causes much more damage beyond its effects on the upper respiratory tract. To this end, in a recent study published in Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, the researchers discuss the extra-pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19. Risk factors for severe COVID-19 It is now a well-known fact that the likelihood of people falling severely ill or dying from COVID-19 is increases if these individuals are obese, or have certain comorbidities like diabetes mellitus (DM), vitamin D deficiency, and vertebral fractures (VFs). Any abnormality in the pituitary gland may lead to metabolic disorders, impaired immunity, and a host of other conditions that also make the body susceptible to infections. Since such conditions are common in patients with COVID-19 as well, it has been hypothesized that there might be a relationship between COVID-19 and pituitary gland disorders. On the other hand, researchers have also observed that COVID-19 causes increased severity of pituitary-related disorders, and even pituitary apoplexy, which is a condition defined as internal bleeding or impaired blood supply in the pituitary gland. A group of Italian researchers has reviewed this bidirectional relationship between the pituitary gland abnormalities and COVID-19 in their study recently published in Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. The link between pituitary gland abnormalities and COVID19 The pituitary gland releases hormones that regulate and control some of the most important functions of the body like growth, metabolism, energy levels, bone health, mood swings, vision, reproduction, and immunity, to name a few. The inability of the pituitary gland to release one or more of these hormones is known as ‘hypopituitarism.’ Factors responsible for hypopituitarism include traumatic brain injury, pituitary adenomas (tumors), genetic mutations, as well as infiltrative and infectious diseases. Hypopituitarism can lead to severe cases of DM, growth hormone deficiency (GHD), abnormal lipid profile, obesity, arterial hypertension, and immune dysfunctions. Interestingly, similar consequences of COVID-19 have also been reported. SARS-CoV-2 infects the human body by binding to a special class of receptors known as the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors. These receptors are located in the endothelial linings of most organs like the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestine, liver, and pancreas, among others. The main function of the ACE2 receptors is binding to specific target molecules to maintain the renin-angiotensin system that is crucial for regulating dilation of blood vessels, as well as maintain blood glucose levels, the immune system, and homeostasis. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 binding to these ACE2 receptors facilitates the entry of this virus into all the organs that have these receptors, thus leading to the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to cause widespread damage in the body. Upon entry into the pancreas, for example, SARS-CoV-2 can inhibit ß-cells function, which worsens hyperglycemia and increases the risk for acute diabetic complications. Similarly, the presence of ACE2 receptors in brain tissues may cause invasion into the pituitary gland and lead to pituitary apoplexy. The entry of SARS-CoV-2 into the brain can also cause neurological damage in infected patients, which may account for some of the common neurological complaints of COVID-19 including headaches, confusion, dysgeusia, anosmia, nausea, and vomiting. Study findings Hypopituitarism leading to metabolic syndrome has been scientifically linked to higher mortality in COVID-19 patients. In fact, the presence of a single metabolic syndrome component has been observed to double the risk of death by COVID-19. This risk was even higher among patients with DM and hypertension. There was also an increased incidence of VFs in COVID-19 patients with hypopituitarism. Hence, patients with DM, obesity, hypertension, and chronic inflammatory disease, are all at an increased risk of poor outcomes and death in COVID-19. Arterial hypertension is a common finding in adults with GHD, which is another consequence of hypopituitarism. Hypopituitarism also causes adrenal insufficiency, a condition that is primarily managed with glucocorticoids and hormonal replacement therapies. Notably, patients with COVID-19 are often treated for prolonged periods with high-dose exogenous glucocorticoids, which is a class of steroids that suppress some activities of the immune system. This treatment approach may result in suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary–adrenal axis that can lead to adrenal insufficiency. Hypogonadism is another aspect of pituitary insufficiency that predisposes patients, especially males, to COVID-19. Evidence shows that males with hypogonadism were more frequently affected by metabolic syndrome. Pituitary apoplexy, albeit rare, has also been linked to COVID-19, especially in patients with pituitary adenomas and those who are being treated with anticoagulant therapy. This may be because the pituitary gland becomes overstimulated during an infectious disease, which may increase pituitary blood demand and lead to sudden infarction precipitating acute apoplexy. This phenomenon has also been shown in patients suffering from infectious diseases that cause hemorrhagic fevers. Taken together, pituitary apoplexy complicates treatment and management procedures in COVID-19 patients. Despite the use of steroids in COVID-19 patients, there have been no contraindications for vaccination in such patients. However, those on extensive hormonal therapies need constant monitoring for best results. Implications The pituitary gland acts like a double-edged sword for COVID-19. On one end, hypopituitarism predisposes patients to metabolic disorders like DM, obesity, and VFs, all of which are known risk factors for COVID-19. On the other hand, COVID-19 may cause direct or indirect damage to the pituitary glands by entering the brain and inducing unfavorable vascular events – though evidence on this remains lesser in comparison to that of hypopituitarism. Ultimately, the researchers of the current study conclude that managing patients with hormonal insufficiencies optimally with steroids is likely to improve outcomes in severe COVID-19. Journal reference: Frara, S., Loli, P., Allora, A., et al. (2021). COVID-19 and hypopituitarism. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. doi:10.1007/s11154-021-09672-y. https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11154-021-09672-y#citeas. From https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210905/Hypopituitarism-and-COVID-19-e28093-exploring-a-possible-bidirectional-relationship.aspx
  11. This article was originally published here J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jul 29:dgab557. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab557. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT CONTEXT: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a proinflammatory and prothrombotic condition, but its impact on adrenal function has not been adequately evaluated. CASE REPORT: A 46-year-old woman presented with abdominal pain, hypotension, and skin hyperpigmentation after COVID-19 infection. The patient had hyponatremia, serum cortisol <1.0 µg/dL, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) of 807 pg/mL, and aldosterone ❤️ ng/dL. Computed tomography (CT) findings of adrenal enlargement with no parenchymal and minimal peripheral capsular enhancement after contrast were consistent with bilateral adrenal infarction. The patient had autoimmune hepatitis and positive antiphospholipid antibodies, but no previous thrombotic events. The patient was treated with intravenous hydrocortisone, followed by oral hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone. DISCUSSION: We identified 9 articles, including case reports, of new-onset adrenal insufficiency and/or adrenal hemorrhage/infarction on CT in COVID-19. Adrenal insufficiency was hormonally diagnosed in 5 cases, but ACTH levels were measured in only 3 cases (high in 1 case and normal/low in other 2 cases). Bilateral adrenal nonhemorrhagic or hemorrhagic infarction was identified in 5 reports (2 had adrenal insufficiency, 2 had normal cortisol levels, and 1 case had no data). Interestingly, the only case with well-characterized new-onset acute primary adrenal insufficiency after COVID-19 had a previous diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome. In our case, antiphospholipid syndrome diagnosis was established only after the adrenal infarction triggered by COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the association between bilateral adrenal infarction and antiphospholipid syndrome triggered by COVID-19. Therefore, patients with positive antiphospholipid antibodies should be closely monitored for symptoms or signs of acute adrenal insufficiency during COVID-19. PMID:34463766 | DOI:10.1210/clinem/dgab557
  12. Dr. Friedman is getting a lot of emails on booster shots versus third shots. Third shots are for immuno-compromised patients that the FDA is recommending for a small group of patients The FDA also has the intention to soon make booster doses widely available to all healthy individuals. I am writing to clarify the difference between booster shots and third doses. Third Doses for Immuno-Compromised Patients The purpose of a third dose of mRNA vaccine is to give immuno-compromised patients the same level of protection that two doses provide someone who has a normal immune system. It is recommended that the following people get a third dose Been receiving cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system Been diagnosed with moderate or severe immunodeficiency conditions (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) An advanced or untreated HIV infection Been under active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (> 20 mg of prednisone or 100 mg of hydrocortisone) or other drugs that may suppress immune response Dr. Friedman thinks it is unlikely that any of his patients have these conditions. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s, diabetes or thyroid disorders do not qualify. In contrast, a Booster Dose is for Patients With Healthy Immune Systems A booster dose—which is different from a third dose for immuno-compromised patients—is for healthy patients and is meant to enhance immunity and may protect against new variants of the virus. The Biden administration has announced that it intends to make booster doses available for people with healthy immune systems in September 2021, after they are authorized or approved by the FDA. This has not happened yet, but when it happens, Dr. Friedman would encourage his patients to get it. Dr. Friedman is expecting a booster shot against the Delta variant to be released in the fall of 2021 and would recommend that for his patients. Dr. Friedman wishes everyone to stay healthy.
  13. All of our country is very encouraged by the declining rates in both COVID-19 infections and death, due mostly to President Trump’s vaccine production and trial effort called Operation Warp Speed and President Biden’s vaccine distribution efforts. As of July 2021, The United States has administered 334,600,770 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 184,132,768 people had received at least one dose while 159,266,536 people are fully vaccinated. The pandemic is by no means over, as people are still getting infected with COVID-19 with the emergence of the Delta Variant. In fact, recently cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 have gone up. In Los Angeles, the increased infection rate has led to indoor mask requirements. The main reason that COVID-19 has not been eliminated is because of vaccine hesitancy, which is often due to misinformation propagated on websites and social media. One of Dr. Friedman's patients gave him a link of an alternative doctor who gave multiple episodes of misinformation subtitled “Evidence suggests people who have received the COVID “vaccine” may have a reduced lifespan” about the COVID-19 vaccine that Dr. Friedman wants to address. Almost 30% of American say they will not get the vaccine, up from 20% a few months ago. Statistics are that people who are vaccinated have a 1:1,000,000 chance of dying from COVID, while people who are unvaccinated have a 1:500 chance of dying from COVID. I think most people would take the 1:1,000,000 risk. Dr. Friedman has always been a proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine because he is a scientist and bases his decisions on peer-reviewed literature and not social media posts. As we are getting to the stage where the COVID-19 pandemic could end if vaccination rates increase, he feels that it is even more important for people to get correct information about the COVID-19 vaccine. MYTH: People are dying at high rates from the COVID-19 vaccine and the rates of complications and deaths are underreported. FACT: The rates of complications and deaths from the vaccine are overreported. It is a fact that when 200 million people get a vaccine, some of them will get blood clots, some of them will have a heart attack, some of them will have strokes, some of them will have optic neuritis and some will have Guillain-Barré syndrome. These complications may not be due to the vaccine, but people remember that they got the vaccine recently. Anti-vaccine websites seem to play up on this and give false information that COVID-19 complications are underreported and fail to note that there is no control group, so we do not know how many people would have gotten blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks if they did not get the vaccine. For example, one anti-vaccine website highlighted a Tamil (Indian) actor Vivek, who died of a massive heart attack 5 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine and tried to make a case that the vaccine caused that. Of course, the massive heart attack was due to years of buildup of cholesterol in his coronary arteries and had nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, the complications attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine occur less frequently in those vaccinated than unvaccinated. The only complication that seems to possibly be more common in people who get vaccinated is blood clots, and the rate of that is still quite low. Overwhelmingly, the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe. MYTH: I had COVID-19 before. I don't need a vaccine. Natural immunity is better than a vaccine immunity. FACT: Most studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are more effective, with longer-lasting immunity, than only having the COVID-19 infection. The immunity after natural infection varies and may be quite minimal in patients who had mild COVID-19 and likely declines within a couple of months of infection. In contrast, those who got the vaccine seem to have high levels of immunity even months after getting the vaccine. The vaccine also protects against the COVID-19 variants. If someone had one variant, it is unlikely that their natural immunity would protect them against other variants. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine leads to spike proteins circulating in your body for months after the vaccine. FACT: The mRNA from the vaccine, the spike protein that it generates, and all of the products of the COVID-19 vaccine are gone within hours, if not days, and do not hang around the body. MYTH: There is likely to be long-term effects, including infertility effects, of the COVID-19 vaccine. FACT: As the viral particles and proteins are gone within a couple hours to days and the vaccine only enters the cytoplasm and does not enter the DNA, it is very unlikely that there will be long-term effects. So far, the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine have not resulted in any detrimental effects, and it has been a year since the trials started. Other vaccines have been used safely and do not give long-term side effects. There is no reason to think that this vaccine would give long-term side effects, and we have not seen any evidence of long-term side effects currently. Pregnant women who received COVID-19 vaccines have similar rates adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes (e.g., fetal loss, preterm birth, small size for gestational age, congenital anomalies, and neonatal death) as with pregnant women who did not receive vaccines. MYTH: People with autoimmune disease should not get the vaccine. FACT: Persons with autoimmune disease are likely more susceptible to COVID-19, and they should especially get the vaccine. People with preexisting conditions, including autoimmune diseases, have been shown to be give generally excellent immune responses to the vaccine, and it should especially be given to patients with Addison’s disease or Cushing's disease who may have higher rates of getting more severe COVID-19. In fact, the CDC as well Dr. Friedman recommends EVERYONE getting the vaccine, except 1) those under 12, 2) those who had an anaphylactic reaction to their first COVID-19 vaccine. Patients with AIDS, and those on immunosuppressive therapy for cancers, organ transplants and rheumatological conditions, may not be fully protected from vaccines and should be cautious (including wearing masks and social distancing), but still should get vaccinated. MYTH: Patients with autoimmune diseases, and other conditions do not mount an adequate immune response to the vaccine and may even should get a booster shot. FACT: The only patients that have been found not to have a good immune response to the vaccine is those with AIDS or on immunosuppressive drugs that are used in people with rheumatological diseases or transplants. With these exception, patients appear to mount a good immune response to the vaccine regardless of their preexisting condition and do not need a booster shot. MYTH: Why should I bother with the vaccine if it is going to require a booster shot? FACT: It is unclear whether booster shots will be required or not. Currently, the CDC and FDA do not recommend a booster shot, but Pfizer has petitioned the FDA to consider it and is starting more studies on whether a booster shot is effective. It is currently believed that the vaccine retains effectiveness for months to years after it is given. MYTH: We are almost at herd immunity now. Why bother getting a vaccine? FACT: We are not at herd immunity as people are still getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Dr. Friedman recently lost to COVID-19 his 43-year old patient with obesity and diabetes at MLK Outpatient Center. There are pockets in the United States with low vaccine rates, especially in the South. The vaccine is spreading among unvaccinated people, while the rate of spread among vaccinated people is quite low. Approximately 98% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. It is important from a public health viewpoint for all Americans to get vaccinated. MYTH: There is nothing to be concerned with about the variants. FACT: Especially the delta variant appears to be more contagious and aggressive than the other variants currently. The vaccines do appear to be effective against the delta variant but possibly a little less so. Variants multiply and can generate new variants only if they are infected into patients who are unvaccinated. To end the emergence of new variants, it is important for all Americans to get vaccinated. MYTH: I could just be careful, and I will not get the COVID-19 vaccine. FACT: Thousands of people who were careful and got COVID-19 and either died from it or became extremely sick. The best prevention against getting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. MYTH: I am young. I do not have to worry about getting COVID. FACT: Many young people have gotten sick and died of COVID-19 and also, they are contagious and can spread COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated. Everyone, regardless of their age, as long as they are over 12, should get vaccinated. MYTH: If children under 12 are not vaccinated, the virus will still spread. FACT: The FDA and CDC do not recommend the vaccine for those under 12. They are very unlikely to get COVID-19 and are very unlikely to transmit it to others. They are the one group that does not need to get vaccinated. MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines are an experimental vaccine. FACT: While it is true that the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use authorization in December 2020 (Pfizer and Moderna) and Johnson and Johnson in February 2021. Both Pfizer and Moderna have petitioned the FDA for full approval, but by no means are these vaccines experimental. As mentioned, over 180 million Americans and many more worldwide have received the vaccine. This is more than any other FDA approved medication. Clinical trials are still ongoing and have enrolled thousands of people and Israel has monitored the effect of COVID-19 vaccines in 7 million Israelis. MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine is a government plot to kill or injure people or a war against G-d. FACT: Yeah right If you want the pandemic to end, please get vaccinated and encourage your friends and colleagues to get vaccinated. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Friedman, go to goodhormonehealth.com
  14. This article was originally published here Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep. 2021 May 1;2021:EDM210038. doi: 10.1530/EDM-21-0038. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT SUMMARY: In this case report, we describe the management of a patient who was admitted with an ectopic ACTH syndrome during the COVID pandemic with new-onset type 2 diabetes, neutrophilia and unexplained hypokalaemia. These three findings when combined should alert physicians to the potential presence of Cushing’s syndrome (CS). On admission, a quick diagnosis of CS was made based on clinical and biochemical features and the patient was treated urgently using high dose oral metyrapone thus allowing delays in surgery and rapidly improving the patient’s clinical condition. This resulted in the treatment of hyperglycaemia, hypokalaemia and hypertension reducing cardiovascular risk and likely risk for infection. Observing COVID-19 pandemic international guidelines to treat patients with CS has shown to be effective and offers endocrinologists an option to manage these patients adequately in difficult times. LEARNING POINTS: This case report highlights the importance of having a low threshold for suspicion and investigation for Cushing’s syndrome in a patient with neutrophilia and hypokalaemia, recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes especially in someone with catabolic features of the disease irrespective of losing weight. It also supports the use of alternative methods of approaching the diagnosis and treatment of Cushing’s syndrome during a pandemic as indicated by international protocols designed specifically for managing this condition during Covid-19. PMID:34013889 | DOI:10.1530/EDM-21-0038 From https://www.docwirenews.com/abstracts/rapid-control-of-ectopic-cushings-syndrome-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-in-a-patient-with-chronic-hypokalaemia/
  15. This month marks a little over one year since the first surge of COVID-19 across the United States. April is also Adrenal Insufficiency Awareness month, a good time to review the data on how COVID-19 infection can impact the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands make hormones to help regulate blood pressure and the ability to respond to stress. The hormones include steroids such as glucocorticoid (cortisol), mineralocorticoid (aldosterone), and forms of adrenaline known as catecholamines (norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine). The activity of the adrenal gland is controlled through its relationship with the pituitary gland (the master regulator of hormones in the body). Some common adrenal diseases include the following: Addison’s Disease (where the body attacks the adrenal glands making them dysfunctional) Hyperaldosteronism Cushing’s Syndrome Pheochromocytoma Adrenal Nodules/Masses (termed incidentaloma) Congenital adrenal hyperplasia COVID-19 was found in the adrenal and pituitary glands of some patients who succumbed to the illness, suggesting that these organs might be among the targets for infection. One of the first highly effective therapies for COVID-19 infection was the use of IV steroid (dexamethasone) supplementation in hospitalized patients in patients requiring oxygen. A focused search of COVID-19-related health literature shows 85 peer-reviewed papers that have been published in medical literature specifically on the adrenal gland and COVID-19. This literature focuses on three phases of COVID infection that may impact the adrenal gland: the acute active infection phase, the immediate post-infection phase, and the long-term recovery phase. Medical research has identified that during the acute active infection, the adrenal system is one of the most heavily affected organ systems in the body in patients who have COVID-19 infection requiring hospitalization. In these cases, supplementation with the steroid dexamethasone serves as one of the most powerful lifesaving treatments. Concern has also been raised regarding the period of time just after the acute infection phase – particularly, the development of adrenal insufficiency following cases of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Additionally, some professional societies recommend that for patients who have adrenal insufficiency and are on adrenal replacement therapy, they be monitored closely post-COVID-19 vaccine for the development of stress-induced adrenal insufficiency. In mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases, there does not seem to be an effect on adrenaline-related hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine). However, in cases of severe COVID-19 infection triggering the development of shock, patients will need supplementation with an infusion of catecholamines and a hormone called vasopressin to maintain their blood pressure. Finally, some studies have addressed the concern of adrenal insufficiency during the long-term recovery phase. Dr Sara Bedrose, adrenal endocrine specialist at Baylor College of Medicine, indicates that studies which included adrenal function in COVID survivors showed a large percentage of patients with suboptimal cortisol secretion during what is called ACTH stimulation testing. Results indicated that most of those cases had central adrenal insufficiency. It was concluded that adrenal insufficiency might be among the long-term consequences of COVID-19 and it seemed to be secondary to pituitary gland inflammation (called hypophysitis) or due to direct hypothalamic damage. Long-term follow-up of COVID 19 survivors will be necessary to exclude a gradual and late-onset adrenal insufficiency. Some patients who have COVID-19 will experience prolonged symptoms. To understand what is happening to them, patients may question whether or not they have a phenomenon called adrenal fatigue. This is a natural question to ask, especially after having such a severe health condition. A tremendous amount of resources are being developed to investigate the source and treatment of the symptoms, and this work has only just begun. However, adrenal fatigue is not a real medical diagnosis. It’s a term to describe a group of signs and symptoms that arise due to underactive adrenal glands. Current scientific data indicate that adrenal fatigue is not in and of itself a medical disease – although a variety of over-the-counter supplements and compounded medications may be advocated for in treatment by alternative medicine/naturopathic practitioners. My takeaway is that we have learned a great deal about the effects COVID-19 infection has on the adrenal glands. Long-term COVID-19 remains an area to be explored – especially in regards to how it may affect the adrenal glands. -By Dr. James Suliburk, associate professor of surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology and section chief of endocrine surgery for the Thyroid and Parathyroid Center at Baylor College of Medicine From https://blogs.bcm.edu/2021/04/22/how-does-covid-19-impact-the-adrenal-gland/
  16. 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 rates, hyperglycemia 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
  17. Adrenal insufficiency increases the risk for severe outcomes, including death, 23-fold for children who contract COVID-19, according to a data analysis presented at the ENDO annual meeting. “Adrenal insufficiency in pediatrics does increase risk of complications with COVID-19 infections,” Manish Gope Raisingani, MD, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics in the division of pediatric endocrinology at Arkansas Children's Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, told Healio. “The relative risk of complications is over 20 for sepsis, intubation and mortality, which is very significant.” Source: Adobe Stock Using the TriNetX tool and information on COVID-19 from 54 health care organizations, Raisingani and colleagues analyzed data from children (aged 0-18 years) with COVID-19; 846 had adrenal insufficiency and 252,211 did not. The mortality rate among children with adrenal insufficiency was 2.25% compared with 0.097% for those without, for a relative risk for death of 23.2 (P < .0001) for children with adrenal insufficiency and COVID-19. RRs for these children were 21.68 for endotracheal intubation and 25.45 for sepsis. “Children with adrenal insufficiency should be very careful during the pandemic,” Raisingani said. “They should take their steroid medication properly. They should also be appropriately trained on stress steroids for infection, other significant events.” From https://www.healio.com/news/endocrinology/20210321/severe-covid19-risks-greatly-increased-for-children-with-adrenal-insufficiency
  18. There is an absence of online information regarding the risks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) testing for patients with a history of sinus and/or pituitary surgery, according to a research letter published online March 4 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Noting that blind NPS testing poses a risk to patients with sinus pathology, Taylor Fish, from the University of Texas Health San Antonio, and colleagues examined online preoperative and postoperative patient information regarding the potential risks of SARS-CoV-2 NPS testing for individuals with a history of sinus or skull-base surgery. The top 100 sites for searches on “sinus surgery instructions” and “pituitary surgery instructions” were identified. The authors also noted the presence of any of the following terms on the webpages: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, or nasopharyngeal swab. Searches for sinus surgery instructions and pituitary surgery instructions returned 6,600,000 and 1,200,000 results, respectively. The researchers identified 79 websites that displayed the date of the last update, and nine of these had been updated since the declaration of COVID-19 as an international health emergency on Jan. 30, 2020. None of the top 200 websites (53 academic, 93 private practice, and 54 other sites) contained warnings for high-risk patients or information pertaining to SARS-CoV-2 NPS testing. “Otolaryngologists should inform at-risk patients about blind NPS testing and alternative diagnostic methods,” the authors write. “Health care professionals ordering or administering testing must prescreen patients with a history of sinus and skull-base surgery prior to NPS testing and use alternative testing.” One author disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry. Abstract/Full Text From https://www.physiciansweekly.com/nasal-swab-test-for-covid-19-risky-for-sinus-surgery-patients/
  19. Rosario Pivonello,a,b Rosario Ferrigno,a Andrea M Isidori,c Beverly M K Biller,d Ashley B Grossman,e,f and Annamaria Colaoa,b Over the past few months, COVID-19, the pandemic disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has been associated with a high rate of infection and lethality, especially in patients with comorbidities such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and immunodeficiency syndromes.1 These cardiometabolic and immune impairments are common comorbidities of Cushing's syndrome, a condition characterised by excessive exposure to endogenous glucocorticoids. In patients with Cushing's syndrome, the increased cardiovascular risk factors, amplified by the increased thromboembolic risk, and the increased susceptibility to severe infections, are the two leading causes of death.2 In healthy individuals in the early phase of infection, at the physiological level, glucocorticoids exert immunoenhancing effects, priming danger sensor and cytokine receptor expression, thereby sensitising the immune system to external agents.3 However, over time and with sustained high concentrations, the principal effects of glucocorticoids are to produce profound immunosuppression, with depression of innate and adaptive immune responses. Therefore, chronic excessive glucocorticoids might hamper the initial response to external agents and the consequent activation of adaptive responses. Subsequently, a decrease in the number of B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, as well as a reduction in T-helper cell activation might favour opportunistic and intracellular infection. As a result, an increased risk of infection is seen, with an estimated prevalence of 21–51% in patients with Cushing's syndrome.4 Therefore, despite the absence of data on the effects of COVID-19 in patients with Cushing's syndrome, one can make observations related to the compromised immune state in patients with Cushing's syndrome and provide expert advice for patients with a current or past history of Cushing's syndrome. Fever is one of the hallmarks of severe infections and is present in up to around 90% of patients with COVID-19, in addition to cough and dyspnoea.1 However, in active Cushing's syndrome, the low-grade chronic inflammation and the poor immune response might limit febrile response in the early phase of infection.2 Conversely, different symptoms might be enhanced in patients with Cushing's syndrome; for instance, dyspnoea might occur because of a combination of cardiac insufficiency or weakness of respiratory muscles.2 Therefore, during active Cushing's syndrome, physicians should seek different signs and symptoms when suspecting COVID-19, such as cough, together with dysgeusia, anosmia, and diarrhoea, and should be suspicious of any change in health status of their patients with Cushing's syndrome, rather than relying on fever and dyspnoea as typical features. The clinical course of COVID-19 might also be difficult to predict in patients with active Cushing's syndrome. Generally, patients with COVID-19 and a history of obesity, hypertension, or diabetes have a more severe course, leading to increased morbidity and mortality.1 Because these conditions are observed in most patients with active Cushing's syndrome,2 these patients might be at an increased risk of severe course, with progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), when developing COVID-19. However, a key element in the development of ARDS during COVID-19 is the exaggerated cellular response induced by the cytokine increase, leading to massive alveolar–capillary wall damage and a decline in gas exchange.5 Because patients with Cushing's syndrome might not mount a normal cytokine response,4 these patients might parodoxically be less prone to develop severe ARDS with COVID-19. Moreover, Cushing's syndrome and severe COVID-19 are associated with hypercoagulability, such that patients with active Cushing's syndrome might present an increased risk of thromboembolism with COVID-19. Consequently, because low molecular weight heparin seems to be associated with lower mortality and disease severity in patients with COVID-19,6 and because anticoagulation is also recommended in specific conditions in patients with active Cushing's syndrome,7 this treatment is strongly advised in hospitalised patients with Cushing's syndrome who have COVID-19. Furthermore, patients with active Cushing's syndrome are at increased risk of prolonged duration of viral infections, as well as opportunistic infections, particularly atypical bacterial and invasive fungal infections, leading to sepsis and an increased mortality risk,2 and COVID-19 patients are also at increased risk of secondary bacterial or fungal infections during hospitalisation.1 Therefore, in cases of COVID-19 during active Cushing's syndrome, prolonged antiviral treatment and empirical prophylaxis with broad-spectrum antibiotics1, 4 should be considered, especially for hospitalised patients (panel ). Panel Risk factors and clinical suggestions for patients with Cushing's syndrome who have COVID-19 Reduction of febrile response and enhancement of dyspnoea Rely on different symptoms and signs suggestive of COVID-19, such as cough, dysgeusia, anosmia, and diarrhoea. Prolonged duration of viral infections and susceptibility to superimposed bacterial and fungal infections Consider prolonged antiviral and broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment. Impairment of glucose metabolism (negative prognostic factor) Optimise glycaemic control and select cortisol-lowering drugs that improve glucose metabolism. Hypertension (negative prognostic factor) Optimise blood pressure control and select cortisol-lowering drugs that improve blood pressure. Thrombosis diathesis (negative prognostic factor) Start antithrombotic prophylaxis, preferably with low-molecular-weight heparin treatment. Surgery represents the first-line treatment for all causes of Cushing's syndrome,8, 9 but during the pandemic a delay might be appropriate to reduce the hospital-associated risk of COVID-19, any post-surgical immunodepression, and thromboembolic risks.10 Because immunosuppression and thromboembolic diathesis are common Cushing's syndrome features,2, 4 during the COVID-19 pandemic, cortisol-lowering medical therapy, including the oral drugs ketoconazole, metyrapone, and the novel osilodrostat, which are usually effective within hours or days, or the parenteral drug etomidate when immediate cortisol control is required, should be temporarily used.9 Nevertheless, an expeditious definitive diagnosis and proper surgical resolution of hypercortisolism should be ensured in patients with malignant forms of Cushing's syndrome, not only to avoid disease progression risk but also for rapidly ameliorating hypercoagulability and immunospuppression;9 however, if diagnostic procedures cannot be easily secured or surgery cannot be done for limitations of hospital resources due to the pandemic, medical therapy should be preferred. Concomitantly, the optimisation of medical treatment for pre-existing comorbidities as well as the choice of cortisol-lowering drugs with potentially positive effects on obesity, hypertension, or diabates are crucial to improve the eventual clinical course of COVID-19. Once patients with Cushing's syndrome are in remission, the risk of infection is substantially decreased, but the comorbidities related to excess glucocorticoids might persist, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, together with thromboembolic diathesis.2 Because these are features associated with an increased death risk in patients with COVID-19,1 patients with Cushing's syndrome in remission should be considered a high-risk population and consequently adopt adequate self-protection strategies to minimise contagion risk. In conclusion, COVID-19 might have specific clinical presentation, clinical course, and clinical complications in patients who also have Cushing's syndrome during the active hypercortisolaemic phase, and therefore careful monitoring and specific consideration should be given to this special, susceptible population. Moreover, the use of medical therapy as a bridge treatment while waiting for the pandemic to abate should be considered. Go to: Acknowledgments RP reports grants and personal fees from Novartis, Strongbridge, HRA Pharma, Ipsen, Shire, and Pfizer; grants from Corcept Therapeutics and IBSA Farmaceutici; and personal fees from Ferring and Italfarmaco. AMI reports non-financial support from Takeda and Ipsen; grants and non-financial support from Shire, Pfizer, and Corcept Therapeutics. BMKB reports grants from Novartis, Strongbridge, and Millendo; and personal fees from Novartis and Strongbridge. AC reports grants and personal fees from Novartis, Ipsen, Shire, and Pfizer; personal fees from Italfarmaco; and grants from Lilly, Merck, and Novo Nordisk. All other authors declare no competing interests. Go to: References 1. Kakodkar P, Kaka N, Baig MN. A comprehensive literature review on the clinical presentation, and management of the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cureus. 2020;12 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 2. Pivonello R, Isidori AM, De Martino MC, Newell-Price J, Biller BMK, Colao A. Complications of Cushing's syndrome: state of the art. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016;4:611–629. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 3. Cain DW, Cidlowski JA. Immune regulation by glucocorticoids. Nat Rev Immunol. 2017;17:233–247. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 4. Hasenmajer V, Sbardella E, Sciarra F, Minnetti M, Isidori AM, Venneri MA. The immune system in Cushing's syndrome. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2020 doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2020.04.004. published online May 6, 2020. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar] 5. Ye Q, Wang B, Mao J. The pathogenesis and treatment of the ‘Cytokine Storm’ in COVID-19. J Infect. 2020;80:607–613. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 6. Tang N, Bai H, Chen X, Gong J, Li D, Sun Z. Anticoagulant treatment is associated with decreased mortality in severe coronavirus disease 2019 patients with coagulopathy. J Thromb Haemost. 2020;18:1094–1099. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 7. Isidori AM, Minnetti M, Sbardella E, Graziadio C, Grossman AB. Mechanisms in endocrinology: the spectrum of haemostatic abnormalities in glucocorticoid excess and defect. Eur J Endocrinol. 2015;173:R101–R113. [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 8. Nieman LK, Biller BM, Findling JW. Treatment of Cushing's syndrome: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;100:2807–2831. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 9. Pivonello R, De Leo M, Cozzolino A, Colao A. The treatment of Cushing's disease. Endocr Rev. 2015;36:385–486. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar] 10. Newell-Price J, Nieman L, Reincke M, Tabarin A. Endocrinology in the time of COVID-19: management of Cushing's syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol. 2020 doi: 10.1530/EJE-20-0352. published online April 1. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar] From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282791/
  20. About Who Should Attend: Individuals with Cushing’s disease and their caregivers. When: Thursday, March 4, 2021, 6 PM, Eastern Where: Virtual presentation via Zoom. Click the Zoom link for the online event or call one of the phone numbers below: 833-548-0276 (US Toll-free) 833-548-0282 (US Toll-free) 877-853-5257 (US Toll-free) 888-475-4499 (US Toll-free) Whether you log on via computer or telephone, you will be asked for the meeting ID and password. Meeting ID: 969 3392 7432 Passcode: 945590 Attendees will be muted until the end of the presentation, at which time we will take questions. There is no fee for this event. Contact Maggie Bobrowitz with any questions: Margaret.Bobrowitz@DignityHealth.org or (888) 726-9370.
  21. About Who Should Attend: Individuals with Cushing’s disease and their caregivers. When: Thursday, March 4, 2021, 6 PM, Eastern Where: Virtual presentation via Zoom. Click the Zoom link for the online event or call one of the phone numbers below: 833-548-0276 (US Toll-free) 833-548-0282 (US Toll-free) 877-853-5257 (US Toll-free) 888-475-4499 (US Toll-free) Whether you log on via computer or telephone, you will be asked for the meeting ID and password. Meeting ID: 969 3392 7432 Passcode: 945590 Attendees will be muted until the end of the presentation, at which time we will take questions. There is no fee for this event. Contact Maggie Bobrowitz with any questions: Margaret.Bobrowitz@DignityHealth.org or (888) 726-9370.
  22. A young healthcare worker who contracted COVID-19 shortly after being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease was detailed in a case report from Japan. While the woman was successfully treated for both conditions, Cushing’s may worsen a COVID-19 infection. Prompt treatment and multidisciplinary care is required for Cushing’s patients who get COVID-19, its researchers said. The report, “Successful management of a patient with active Cushing’s disease complicated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia,” was published in Endocrine Journal. Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland, which results in abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol (hypercortisolism). Since COVID-19 is still a fairly new disease, and Cushing’s is rare, there is scant data on how COVID-19 tends to affect Cushing’s patients. In the report, researchers described the case of a 27-year-old Japanese female healthcare worker with active Cushing’s disease who contracted COVID-19. The patient had a six-year-long history of amenorrhea (missed periods) and dyslipidemia (abnormal fat levels in the body). She had also experienced weight gain, a rounding face, and acne. After transferring to a new workplace, the woman visited a new gynecologist, who checked her hormonal status. Abnormal findings prompted a visit to the endocrinology department. Clinical examination revealed features indicative of Cushing’s syndrome, such as a round face with acne, central obesity, and buffalo hump. Laboratory testing confirmed hypercortisolism, and MRI revealed a tumor in the patient’s pituitary gland. She was scheduled for surgery to remove the tumor, and treated with metyrapone, a medication that can decrease cortisol production in the body. Shortly thereafter, she had close contact with a patient she was helping to care for, who was infected with COVID-19 but not yet diagnosed. A few days later, the woman experienced a fever, nausea, and headache. These persisted for a few days, and then she started having difficulty breathing. Imaging of her lungs revealed a fluid buildup (pneumonia), and a test for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — came back positive. A week after symptoms developed, the patient required supplemental oxygen. Her condition worsened 10 days later, and laboratory tests were indicative of increased inflammation. To control the patient’s Cushing’s disease, she was treated with increasing doses of metyrapone and similar medications to decrease cortisol production; she was also administered cortisol — this “block and replace” approach aims to maintain cortisol levels within the normal range. The patient experienced metyrapone side effects that included stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, swelling, increased acne, and hypokalemia (low potassium levels). She was given antiviral therapies (e.g., favipiravir) to help manage the COVID-19. Additional medications to prevent opportunistic fungal infections were also administered. From the next day onward, her symptoms eased, and the woman was eventually discharged from the hospital. A month after being discharged, she tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Surgery for the pituitary tumor was then again possible. Appropriate safeguards were put in place to protect the medical team caring for her from infection, during and after the surgery. The patient didn’t have any noteworthy complications from the surgery, and her cortisol levels soon dropped to within normal limits. She was considered to be in remission. Although broad conclusions cannot be reliably drawn from a single case, the researchers suggested that the patient’s underlying Cushing’s disease may have made her more susceptible to severe pneumonia due to COVID-19. “Since hypercortisolism due to active Cushing’s disease may enhance the severity of COVID-19 infection, it is necessary to provide appropriate, multidisciplinary and prompt treatment,” the researchers wrote. From https://cushingsdiseasenews.com/2021/01/15/covid-19-may-be-severe-cushings-patients-case-report-suggests/?cn-reloaded=1
  23. Dr. Theodore Friedman will host a webinar on COVID-19 Vaccines for Endocrine Patients Dr. Friedman will discuss topics including: How do the vaccines work? What did the New England Journal of Medicine article say about the Pfizer vaccine? What are the different vaccine options? What are the side effects? Who should and shouldn’t get a vaccine? What about Dr. Friedman’s vaccine studies? Sunday • December 27 • 6 PM PST Click here on start your meeting or https://axisconciergemeetings.webex.com/axisconciergemeetings/j.php?MTID=m5085619c25d8a2417d9316b56fe7830b OR Join by phone: (855) 797-9485 Meeting Number (Access Code): 177 542 2496 Your phone/computer will be muted on entry. Slides will be available on the day of the talk here There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. Meeting Password: pcos For more information, email us at mail@goodhormonehealth.com
  24. Dr. Theodore Friedman will host a webinar on COVID-19 Vaccines for Endocrine Patients Dr. Friedman will discuss topics including: How do the vaccines work? What did the New England Journal of Medicine article say about the Pfizer vaccine? What are the different vaccine options? What are the side effects? Who should and shouldn’t get a vaccine? What about Dr. Friedman’s vaccine studies? Sunday • December 27 • 6 PM PST Click here on start your meeting or https://axisconciergemeetings.webex.com/axisconciergemeetings/j.php?MTID=m5085619c25d8a2417d9316b56fe7830b OR Join by phone: (855) 797-9485 Meeting Number (Access Code): 177 542 2496 Your phone/computer will be muted on entry. Slides will be available on the day of the talk here There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. Meeting Password: pcos For more information, email us at mail@goodhormonehealth.com
  25. Update November 22, 2020 I have not updated my patients on the COVID-19 pandemic since March. Since the last update and as of today’s date, 12.2 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and 256,000 Americans have died. Several of Dr. Friedman’s patients have been infected with COVID-19. Many businesses have closed and there have been major economic loses. The response to the pandemic has unfortunately been politicized and I say unfortunately because the virus doesn’t distinguish based on victim’s political party. Please see Dr. Friedman’s Letter in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/letters_to_the_editor/316110/letters-lockdown-vs-no-lockdown/. Dr. Friedman completely supports efforts to limit the spread of the virus, including wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing and staying at home. Listening to government officials including the CDC is crucial. Dr. Friedman agrees with data showing gatherings are much safer outside and encourages his patients to err on the side of safety and caution. Dr. Friedman is spearheading efforts at Charles R. Drew University to be a site for a vaccine study and after some delays, it looks like his University will be a site for the Sanofi vaccine in December 2020. Dr. Friedman is very excited about the promising results from the Moderna and Pfizer trials and thinks vaccines along with mask-wearing and social distancing will curtail the pandemic, hopefully in the latter half of 2021. He does think that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time. Dr. Friedman anticipates that changes due to COVID-19, including telemedicine and working from home will remain with us after the pandemic subsides. As mentioned in the March update, patients with endocrine problems such as Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s Disease, hypopituitarism and diabetes have slightly impaired immune systems, making them potentially susceptible for a more severe infection by COVID-19. He would recommend those patients to be especially vigilant about mask-wearing/social distancing and to get a vaccine when it comes out. He advices his patients the following: Wear masks, social distancing, handwashing and staying at home as much as possible Use delivery services for groceries, food and medications. Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer several times a day Avoid air travel, public gatherings and other public places as guided by local officials Quarantine if sick or exposed. Labcorp and Quest both introduced testing for COVID-19 using nasal swabs. Several other laboratories are also performing tests. Dr. Friedman recommends PCR testing and not rapid antigen testing. For those with symptoms of Coronavirus, he recommends seeing your primary care doctor for testing. Dr. Friedman is unable to provide requisitions or swabs for this testing that should be done by their primary doctor. While Dr. Friedman was initially enthusiastic about antibody testing, he is concerned about the quality of the tests and no longer recommends it. Labcorp and Quest are both still open and Quest has a new Peace of Mind program for lab services not related to COVID-19 and for patients who are 60 years of age or older, or have other conditions that put them at greater risk for COVID-19, in which patients can come to their nearby Quest location during the first hour of each day for VIP care. Dr. Friedman encourages people to get their hormone testing done and make their followup appointments. Many patients have requested extra supply of their medications. However, most insurances do not allow this and carefully monitor medication use. Dr. Friedman recommends patients to use a mail-order pharmacy and sign up for auto-refills so that they get a consistent supply of their medications. Except for patients sick with COVID-19, patients should not up-dose hydrocortisone Dr. Friedman has restarting in person visits on the last Tuesday of each month and continues to see patients via telemedicine on the other Tuesday nights. Please visit goodhormonehealth.com for more information or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Friedman’s staff will still be doing in person growth hormone stimulation tests on Tuesday night in an isolated and sanitized clinic setting. Dr. Friedman especially encourages patients to eat healthy and exercise (especially being outside) including walking, hiking, biking, aerobic videos yoga or pilates at home, during this stressful period. Dr. Friedman encourages patients to get their flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine when available. Everyone should pray that the pandemic ends soon. Dr. Friedman wishes everyone to stay healthy
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