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. Hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone or cortisone acetate may be used to replace cortisol. Your doctor may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace aldosterone.
  • Corticosteroid injections. If you're ill with vomiting and can't retain oral medications, injections may be needed.

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)
Nov. 10, 2015
  1. Addison disease. Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  2. Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Health and Kidney Disease. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  3. Hay WW, et al. Endocrine disorders. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 22nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  4. Nieman LK. Clinical manifestations of adrenal insufficiency in adults. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  5. Adrenal diseases — Addison's disease. National Adrenal Diseases Foundation. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  6. Nieman LK. Treatment of adrenal insufficiency in adults. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  7. Nieman LK. Causes of primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease). Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.