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Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia

On-line version ISSN 1677-9487


ROMANHOLI, Daniella J.P.C.  and  SALGADO, Luiz Roberto. Exogenous Cushing's syndrome and glucocorticoid withdrawal. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab [online]. 2007, vol.51, n.8, pp.1280-1292. ISSN 1677-9487.

Glucocorticoids are widely used in clinical practice to control the activity of autoimmune, inflammatory, allergic diseases and other nosological entities. Therapeutic doses of glucocorticoids are often administered inappropriately and it is a particular problem because chronic therapy has many side effects, ranging from suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and Cushing's syndrome to infections and changes in mental status. Factors influencing both the therapeutic and adverse effects of glucocorticoids include the pharmacokinetic properties of the glucocorticoid, daily dosage, individual differences in steroid metabolism and the duration of treatment. When used to control the activity of these diseases, four aspects of glucocorticoid withdrawal deserve special attention. First, the illness treated by steroids may relapse. Second, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis may remain suppressed for a long time. Third, psychological dependence to these hormones often develops. Fourth, a nonspecific withdrawal syndrome may develop even while patients are receiving physiological replacement doses of glucocorticoids. The severity of the withdrawal syndrome depends on the phase and degree of dependence and includes many symptoms as anorexia, nausea, emesis, weight loss, fatigue, myalgias, arthralgias, headache, abdominal pain, lethargy, postural hypotension, fever, and skin desquamation.

Keywords : Glucocorticoid; Withdrawal syndrome; Steroid.

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