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.
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:
Dec. 04, 2012
- Saline solution
- Sugar (dextrose)
- Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Health and Kidney Disease. http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/addison/addison.aspx. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Chakera AJ. Addison disease in adults: Diagnosis and management. The American Journal of Medicine. 2010;123:409.
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- Nieman LK. Clinical manifestations of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Adrenal diseases — Addison's disease. National Adrenal Diseases Foundation. http://www.nadf.us/diseases/addisons.htm. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Treatment of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Causes of primary adrenal insufficiency in adults (Addison's disease). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Diagnosis of primary adrenal insufficiency in adults (Addison's disease). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 18, 2012.
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