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Randomised controlled trial of growth effect of hydrocortisone in congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  1. Ivani Novato Silvaa,
  2. Claudio Elias Katerc,
  3. Cristiane de Freitas Cunhaa,
  4. Marcos Borato Vianab
  1. aFederal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Unit of Paediatric Endocrinology, bDepartment of Paediatrics, cDepartment of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
  1. Dr I N Silva, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Avenue Alfredo Balena 190, 30130–100 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


The influence of 15 or 25 mg/m2 of daily oral hydrocortisone with fludrocortisone 0.1 mg/day on growth and laboratory findings was evaluated in a prospective randomised crossover trial over 12 months in 26 children with 21-hydroxylase deficiency. Nine non-salt losers had fludrocortisone stopped for a further six month period. Height velocity was significantly decreased during treatment with 25 mg/m2 as compared with 15 mg/m2. This was the most sensitive indicator of corticosteroid treatment excess. A dose dependent effect upon plasma concentrations of 17-hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone, and androstenedione was found but increased values were still detected in more than half of the determinations made during the 25 mg/m2 period. Height velocity and 17-hydroxyprogesterone concentrations were positively correlated. Growth hormone response to clonidine stimulation and insulin-like growth factor-1 concentrations were both within reference values and there was no difference between treatment periods. Withdrawal of fludrocortisone did not result in any difference for the non-salt losers. It was concluded that 25 mg/m2 of hydrocortisone depressed growth in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and that full suppression, or even normalisation, of plasma concentrations of 17-hydroxyprogesterone and androgens should not be considered a treatment goal, but instead an indication of corticosteroid treatment excess.

  • hydrocortisone
  • growth
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
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