The aim was to survey current practice in glucocorticoid replacement therapy and self-perceived health outcomes in patients with adrenal insufficiency.
Participants were recruited via patient organizations to respond anonymously to a web-based survey developed by clinical experts. Unique entries were set up for each patient organization enabling geographical localization of the entries.
1245 participants responded (primary adrenal insufficiency: 84%; secondary adrenal insufficiency: 11%; unsure: 5%). Therapies included hydrocortisone (75%), prednisone/prednisolone (11%), cortisone acetate (6%) and dexamethasone (4%). Dosing regimens were once daily (10%), twice daily (42%), thrice daily (32%) or other (17%). Compromised subjective health necessitating changes to physical activity or social-, work- or family life was reported by 64% of the participants. 40% of the participants reported absence from work/school in the last 3 months. Irrespective of diagnosis, 76% were concerned about long-term side-effects of therapy, mainly osteoporosis (78%), obesity (64%) and cardiovascular morbidity (46%). 38% of the participants had been hospitalized in the last year.
Glucocorticoid replacement therapy among the respondents consisted primarily of hydrocortisone administered twice or thrice daily. A majority reported impact of their disease or treatment on subjective health requiring alterations in e.g. physical activity or family life. Three quarters reported concerns about long-term side-effects of the treatment. These data demonstrate — from the patients' perspective — a need for improvement in the management of adrenal insufficiency.