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Doses and steroids to be used in primary and central hypoadrenalism.

Traditionally hydrocortisone has been the first choice for replacement therapy in patients with adrenal insufficiency. Paediatricians have used body surface area adjusted dosing and adult physicians have tended to use fixed doses twice or thrice daily. Cortisol secretion has a distinct circadian rhythm being low at the time sleep onset, rising from between 02.00 h and 04.00 h in the morning to peak just after the time of waking then falling during the day. The pharmacokinetics of immediate release hydrocortisone means that no treatment regimen is capable of simulating the normal circadian rhythm of cortisol. Recent data with hydrocortisone infusions suggests that circadian delivery of hydrocortisone can improve biochemical control of patients with adrenal insufficiency. It is anticipated in the future that modified release formulations of hydrocortisone will provide more optimal replacement therapy.

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