Glucocorticoid replacement regimens in chronic adrenal insufficiency: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Alaa Al Nofal, Irina Bancos, Khalid Benkhadra, Naykky Maruquel Singh Ospina, Asma Javed, Ekta Kapoor, Kalpana Muthusamy, Juan P. Brito, Adina F. Turcu, Zhen Wang, Larry Prokop, Dana Z. Erickson, Aida N. Lteif, Neena Natt, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: Various glucocorticoid (GC) regimens have been used in the treatment of patients with adrenal insufficiency, yet the differences between such regimens on health outcomes are unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effects of GC regimens on quality of life (QoL), bone density, incidence of adrenal crisis, and death. In pediatric studies, we also searched for final adult height. Methods: We searched 6 databases through July 2016. Studies were selected and appraised by independent reviewers. Data were pooled using the profile likelihood random-effects model. Results: We included 34 studies. We found no difference in QoL scores between higher (≥30 mg/day of hydrocortisone [HC] equivalence) vs. lower daily doses (<30 mg/day of HC equivalence) (P =.15) or based on frequency of daily dosing (once, twice or thrice daily). Extended-release (1 study), dual-/modified-release (3 studies), and continuous subcutaneous (3 studies) forms of GCs were associated with higher QoL scores. There was no significant association between dose and type of GC and the incidence of adrenal crises. The effect on bone mineral density was heterogeneous. No data were available on mortality or final adult height in children. The quality of evidence was low due to increased risk of bias, imprecision, and heterogeneity. Conclusion: Extended-/dual-release, and continuous subcutaneous forms of GC may be associated with higher QoL scores. However, this is derived from short-term and imprecise evidence, warranting low confidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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