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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Addison's Disease: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Endocrine Disorders

Addison's Disease

Alternate Names : Primary Adrenocortical Insufficiency, Primary Adrenal Failure, Hypocortisolism

Addison's Disease | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the disease?

Treatment of Addison disease involves replacing the missing adrenal hormones. Initial therapy may include IV fluids, other medicines to support blood pressure or treat infections, and IV hormones. Once a person is stable, hormone pills alone can be used. Patients who need to replace aldosterone may also be advised by their doctors to increase their salt intake.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Medicines to support blood pressure or treat infections may cause allergic reactions and stomach upset. If hormones are given in too low or too high an amount, uncomfortable symptoms can result. For example, if adrenal hormone levels are too high, people can have mood swings and body swelling.

What happens after treatment for the disease?

In most cases, lifelong hormone replacement is required because adrenal function does not usually return to healthy levels once it is lost. People with Addison disease should wear or carry identification, such as a Medic Alert bracelet, describing their condition and emergency treatment needed. When people with this disease travel, they should bring along an injectable form of cortisol that can be used in case of emergency. A plan for increasing cortisol medicine dosing during periods of high stress or with mild respiratory infections should also be discussed with the doctor.

How is the disease monitored?

Blood tests can be used to check for salt balance and hormone levels. Immediate medical attention will be needed if the person develops a severe infection or severe vomiting and diarrhea. These conditions can bring on addisonian crisis. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the doctor as well.

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Addison's Disease: Prevention & Expectations


Author: Adam Brochert, MD
Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
Date Reviewed: 09/19/02

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