Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome caused by steroid therapy in a patient with lupus nephritis

J Korean Med Sci. 2011 Mar;26(3):447-9. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2011.26.3.447. Epub 2011 Feb 25.


A 51-yr-old female was referred to our outpatient clinic for the evaluation of generalized edema. She had been diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). She had taken no medicine. Except for the ITP, she had no history of systemic disease. She was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. Immunosuppressions consisting of high-dose steroid were started. When preparing the patient for discharge, a generalized myoclonic seizure occurred at the 47th day of admission. At that time, the laboratory and neurology studies showed hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome. Brain MRI and EEG showed brain atrophy without other lesion. The seizure stopped after the blood sugar and serum osmolarity declined below the upper normal limit. The patient became asymptomatic and she was discharged 10 weeks after admission under maintenance therapy with prednisolone, insulin glargine and nateglinide. The patient remained asymptomatic under maintenance therapy with deflazacort and without insulin or medication for blood sugar control.

Keywords: Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome; Lupus Nephritis; Seizures; Steroids.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Edema
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / complications
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / chemically induced*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Nephritis / complications*
  • Lupus Nephritis / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects*
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / complications
  • Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic / drug therapy*


  • Insulin
  • Prednisolone