Journal of Korean Endocrine Society 2003;18(5):456-464.
Published online October 1, 2003.
Determination of Glucocorticoid Replacement Therapy and Adequate Maintenance Dose in Patients with Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency.
Sang Wan Kim, Hye Seung Jung, Seong Hee Kwon, Do Joon Park, Chan Soo Shin, Kyung Soo Park, Seong Yeon Kim, Bo Youn Cho, Hong Kyu Lee
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Determination of the adequate dose of glucocorticoid replacement therapy, in patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency, is of great importance to avoid the consequences of under or over treatment. The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the value of adrenal cortical function tests in determining whether glucocorticoid replacement should be given, and 2) to investigate the adequate maintenance dose of glucocorticoid in patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency. METHODS: Forty patients, with secondary adrenal insufficiency, confirmed by the insulin-induced hypoglycemia test (IHT), were studied. All subjects underwent basal serum cortisol measurement, IHT and 250 g rapid ACTH stimulation tests (AST). The clinical usefulness of these tests, for the determination of glucocorticoid replacement therapy, was evaluated in patients with secondary adrenal insufficiency. 26 of the 40 patients had received prednisolone (Pd) (5 mg per day) replacement due to symptoms from adrenal insufficiency. The dose of Pd was serially changed from 5 to 3.75, and then to 6.25 mg per day, every 3 month. The measured lipid parameters, serum osteocalcin and urinary N-telopeptide were measured and the quality of life evaluated by the administration of an Addisonian questionnaire, both before and after the dose changes. RESULTS: 1) For all tests, cut-offs were selected that would provide adequate specificity and sensitivity. When the cut-offs were set to provide 95% specificity, the corresponding sensitivitycut-off values, obtained with basal serum cortisol, peak serum cortisol in IHT and AST were: 88.4% <5 microgram/dL, 80.7% <11 microgram/dL and 76.9% <16 microgram/dL. 2) The urinary type I collagen N-telopeptide, total cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol levels were significantly increased, and the serum osteocalcin levels significantly decreased when the daily dose of Pd was increased to 6.25 from 3.75 or 5 mg. The LDL-cholesterol levels especially, were significantly increased, even though the change in the Pd from 3.75 to 5 mg per day was subtle. CONCLUSION: The basal cortisol levels, HPA axis tests and the symptoms of patients may be helpful to determine whether prednisolone replacement therapy should be given. It is suggest that an adequate dose of glucocorticoid replacement therapy should be not exceed Pd 5mg per day, so as not to have adverse effects on the bone and lipid metabolisms.
Key Words: Glucocorticoid replacement therapy, Secondary adrenal insufficiency, Adequate dose

Editorial Office
101-2503, Lotte Castle President, 109 Mapo-daero, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04146, Korea​
Tel: +82-2-716-2428    Fax: +82-2-714-5103    E-mail:                

Copyright © 2021 by Korean Endocrine Society. All rights reserved.

Developed in M2PI

Close layer
prev next