Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

All treatment for Addison's disease involves hormone replacement therapy to correct the levels of steroid hormones your body isn't producing. Some options for treatment include:

  • Oral corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace aldosterone. Hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone or cortisone acetate may be used to replace cortisol.
  • Corticosteroid injections. If you're ill with vomiting and can't retain oral medications, injections may be needed.
  • Androgen replacement therapy. To treat androgen deficiency in women, dehydroepiandrosterone can be prescribed. Some studies suggest that this therapy may improve overall sense of well-being, libido and sexual satisfaction.

An ample amount of sodium is recommended, especially during heavy exercise, when the weather is hot, or if you have gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhea. Your doctor will also suggest a temporary increase in your dosage if you're facing a stressful situation, such as an operation, an infection or a minor illness.

Addisonian crisis

An addisonian crisis is a life-threatening situation that results in low blood pressure, low blood levels of sugar and high blood levels of potassium. This situation requires immediate medical care. Treatment typically includes intravenous injections of:

  • Hydrocortisone
  • Saline solution
  • Sugar (dextrose)
Dec. 04, 2012

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