Adrenal dysfunction therapy

What is it?

Treatment of adrenal dysfunction varies depending on the pathology and function of this gland, i.e., hormone production in defect or in excess, and can be pharmacological and/or surgical. The adrenal glands are fundamental to human life as they produce various hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, androgens and catecholamines.

When is this procedure indicated?

If both adrenal glands stop working, or if they need to be removed due to a disease, it is imperative that replacement therapy be followed to replace the hormones that are no longer being produced.

How is it performed?

The most appropriate pharmacologic treatment of the defective production of adrenal hormones involves the use of corticosteroids, usually cortisone or hydrocortisone and sometimes the addition of a mineralcorticoid drug such as fludrocortisone. Generally, these drugs are taken orally, however, in some particular cases or extreme gravity and/or emergency, they can be administered directly intravenously. With regard to excess production, however, refer to the treatment of the specific condition (e.g., Cushing's syndrome or pheochromocytoma).


In case the therapy is not taken correctly or the patient is in a condition of physical stress, such as during an infection which requires an increase in the dosage of corticosteroids, there would be the risk of a hyposurrenal crisis, a very serious condition that would threaten the survival of the patient. If the intake of corticosteroids was instead greater than necessary, there would be the risk of incurring all those side effects typical of hypercortisolism.

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