Glucocorticoid regimens in the treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia: A systematic review and Meta-Analysis

Emma Whittle, Henrik Falhammar

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    Management of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) requires both glucocorticoid replacement and suppression of adrenal androgen synthesis. It is recommended that children with CAH be treated with hydrocortisone, but the appropriate glucocorticoid regimen in adults is uncertain. In order to review the outcomes of different glucocorticoid regimens in the management of CAH, a systematic search of PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science was conducted, including reports published up to 25 February 2019. Studies that compared at least two types of glucocorticoid preparation were included. The following information was extracted from each study: first author, year of publication, number and characteristics of patients and control subjects, types and doses of glucocorticoid regimen used, study design and outcomes [e.g., biochemical tests, weight, height, body mass index (BMI), bone mineral density (BMD)]. A total of 23 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis, with 19 included in the quantitative synthesis. Dexamethasone was associated with the greatest degree of adrenal suppression; there was no significant difference in 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP) and androstenedione levels between patients treated with hydrocortisone or prednisolone. Patients treated with dexamethasone had the lowest BMD and the highest BMI. Although dexamethasone therapy is associated with significantly lower 17OHP and androstenedione levels, it is also associated with more adverse effects. There do not appear to be significant differences between hydrocortisone and prednisolone therapy, and the choice of agent should be based on individual patient factors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1227-1245
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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