Background: Hypopituitary patients with untreated GH deficiency and patients on inappropriately high doses of glucocorticoid ( GC) share certain clinical features.
Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the influence of GC substitution on clinical characteristics in hypopituitary patients before and after GH replacement therapy.
Method: A total of 2424 hypopituitary patients within the KIMS ( Pfizer International Metabolic Database) were grouped according to ACTH status. Comparisons were performed between subjects on hydrocortisone (HC) (n = 1186), cortisone acetate (CA) (n = 487), and prednisolone/dexamethasone (n = 52), and ACTH-sufficient patients (AS) (n = 717) before and after 1 yr of GH treatment in terms of body mass index, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure, glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), serum lipids, IGF-I, and comorbidity. Hydrocortisone equivalent (HCeq) doses were calculated, and measurements were adjusted for sex and age.
Results: At baseline, the HC group had increased total cholesterol, triglycerides, waist circumference, and HbA1c, and the prednisolone/ dexamethasone group had increased waist/hip ratio as compared with AS. After HCeq dose adjustment, the HC group retained higher HbA1c than the CA group. GC-treated patients showed a dose-related increase in serum IGF-I, body mass index, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Subjects with HCeq doses less than 20 mg/d (n = 328) at baseline did not differ from AS in metabolic endpoints. The 1-yr metabolic response to GH was similar in all GC groups and dose categories. All new cases of diabetes (n = 12), stroke (n = 8), and myocardial infarction (n = 3) during GH treatment occurred in GC-treated subjects.
Conclusion: HCeq doses of at least 20 mg/d in adults with hypopituitarism are associated with an unfavorable metabolic profile. CA replacement may have metabolic advantages compared with other GCs.
2006. Vol. 91, no 10, 3954-3961 p.