Adrenal insufficiency in an adult on inhaled corticosteroids; recovery of adrenal function with inhaled nedocromil sodium

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1998 Dec;81(6):582-4. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62709-3.


Background: Whereas oral corticosteroids and high-dose inhaled corticosteroids may be associated with suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids have not been reported to be associated with clinically significant adrenal insufficiency in the adult.

Objective: A case study of adrenal responsiveness after prolonged medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids and after replacement of steroid therapy by inhaled nedocromil sodium is described.

Methods: Standard 250-microg dose ACTH (cosyntropin) stimulation tests were followed after replacement of inhaled triamcinolone acetonide therapy by nedocromil sodium.

Results: A 55-year-old woman who had been on inhaled triamcinolone acetonide, 1600 microg/day for 12 years, presented with symptoms of adrenal hypofunction upon inhaled corticosteroid taper. An ACTH stimulation test confirmed adrenal insufficiency. She was switched to inhaled nedocromil sodium with improvement in her clinical syndrome and normalization of her ACTH stimulation test.

Conclusion: Withdrawal from prolonged use of inhaled medium-dose corticosteroids may be associated with clinically significant adrenal insufficiency in adults. Steroid sparing agents may be considered for those on long-term inhaled corticosteroid therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / drug therapy
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nedocromil / administration & dosage
  • Nedocromil / therapeutic use
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Nedocromil