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Adrenocortical hyporesponsiveness after treatment with ACTH of infantile spasms.
  1. J Perheentupa,
  2. R Riikonen,
  3. L Dunkel,
  4. O Simell


    The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis was studied in 10 infants before and during a six week period of treatment with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and three days and one and two weeks after its stopping. During the treatment 24 hour urinary cortisol excretion increased 20 to 350-fold (mean 100) above the basal value. Mean morning serum cortisol concentration, measured 24 hours after the preceding ACTH dose, did not increase. After the treatment mean urinary cortisol excretion was subnormal and mean morning serum cortisol concentration was below the pretreatment value. The mean serum cortisol response to a vasopressin test was reduced and shortened throughout the post-treatment observation period. The mean serum cortisol response to an intravenous ACTH test was not significantly different from the pretreatment response three days after treatment but was clearly reduced thereafter. At one and two weeks after treatment the basal concentrations of serum cortisol of one third of the patients and the post-ACTH concentrations of two thirds were subnormal. We conclude that in infants treatment with ACTH may cause adrenocortical hyporesponsiveness.

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