Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Treatment and outcomes

Department of Endocrinology, Hedi Chaker Hospital, Sfax, Tunisia.
Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism 10/2013; 17(Suppl1):S14-S17. DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.119491
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) describes a group of autosomal recessive disorders where there is impairment of cortisol biosynthesis. CAH due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency accounts for 95% of cases and shows a wide range of clinical severity. Glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement therapies are the mainstays of treatment of CAH. The optimal treatment for adults with CAH continues to be a challenge. Important long-term health issues for adults with CAH affect both men and women. These issues may either be due to the disease or to steroid treatment and may affect final height, fertility, cardiometabolic risk, bone metabolism, neuro-cognitive development and the quality-of-life. Patients with CAH should be regularly followed-up from childhood to adulthood by multidisciplinary teams who have knowledge of CAH. Optimal replacement therapy, close clinical and laboratory monitoring, early life-style interventions, early and regular fertility assessment and continuous psychological management are needed to improve outcome.

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine bone mineral density (BMD), markers of bone metabolism, fractures, and steroids reflecting hormonal control in adult males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). SUBJECTS, METHODS AND DESIGN: We compared CAH males with 21-hydroxylase deficiency (n=30), 19-67 years old, with age- and sex-matched controls (n=32). Subgroups of CYP21A2 genotypes, age, glucocorticoid preparation, poor control versus overtreatment, and early versus late (>36 months) diagnosis were studied. Bone mineral density (BMD) measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and markers of bone metabolism and androgens/17-hydroxyprogesterone levels were investigated. RESULTS: All, including older (>30 yrs), CAH patients had lower BMD in all measured sites compared to control subjects. The null group demonstrated lower BMD in more locations than the other groups. Osteoporosis/osteopenia was present in 81% of CAH patients compared to 32% in controls (≥30 yrs). Fracture frequency was similar, osteocalcin lower, and fewer patients than controls had vitamin D insufficiency. IGF-I was elevated in the milder genotypes. In patients, total body BMD was positively correlated to weight, BMI, total lean body mass, triglycerides, and negatively to prolactin. Patients on prednisolone had lower BMD and osteocalcin levels than those on hydrocortisone/cortisone acetate. Patients with poor control had higher femoral neck BMD. There were no differences in BMD between patients with an early versus late diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: CAH males have low BMD and bone formation markers. BMD should be monitored, adequate prophylaxis and treatment established, and glucocorticoid doses optimized to minimize the risk of future fractures.
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