In 11 children aged between 2 and 17 years with (nonsalt-losing) congenital adrenal hyperplasia (21-hydroxylase deficiency) blood was drawn at 90-minute intervals during a 24-hour period and levels of 17-hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone, and cortisol were measured. Levels of 17-ketosteroids and pregnanetriol were measured too in 24-hour urine samples. These measurements were taken under different regimens of treatment and after interruption of treatment. Cortisol level rose and fell rapidly after administered corticosteroid, and reached unphysiologically high levels. Testosterone levels showed pronounced variations but stayed in the normal range for most of the time even in untreated patients; thus testosterone provides a poor control parameter. Levels of 17-hydroxyprogesterone showed extreme fluctuations and very high peak levels in untreated patients; standard treatment with two or three daily doses of corticosteroids did not prevent a pronounced rise in its level after midnight. After the first morning dose of hydrocortisone a very steep fall was observed. The 24-hour pregnanetriol excretion correlated well with the corresponding total integrated 17-hydroxyprogesterone area. It is concluded that single 17-hydroxyprogesterone values are unlikely to give adequate information about the quality of treatment.
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