Pulse Methylprednisolone with Oral Prednisolone versus Adrenocorticotropic Hormone in Children with West Syndrome: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Background and purpose: West syndrome is an epileptic encephalopathy of infancy. According to guidelines, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) is probably effective for the short-term management of infantile spasm, but there is little uniformity in treatment due to variable response. This study has been done to evaluate the efficacy of pulse methylprednisolone as compared to ACTH in children with West syndrome.
Methods: Children between 3 months to 24 months with the diagnosis of West syndrome were included and ACTH and pulse methyl prednisolone followed by oral prednisolone were given after randomization. Total duration of treatment was 6 weeks in both groups.
Results: Total 87 children were enrolled; 12 patients lost in follow up. Finally, 43 received ACTH and 32 received pulse methylprednisolone. In pulse methylprednisolone group, 28.13% showed 50-80% response, 28.13% showed 80-99% response and 21.87% patients showed 100% response. In ACTH group, 41.86% showed 50-80% response, 25.58% showed 80-99% response and only 3 (6.97%) patients showed 100% response. Methylprednisolone treatment regimen did not cause significant or persistent adverse effects.
Conclusions: Pulse methylprednisolone followed by oral prednisolone for 6 weeks is as effective as ACTH. Thus, methylprednisolone therapy can be an important alternative to ACTH.

Safety and Effectiveness of Oral Methylprednisolone Therapy in Comparison With Intramuscular Adrenocorticotropic Hormone and Oral Prednisolone in Children With Infantile Spasms

Background and Purpose: To assess the safety and effectiveness of oral methylprednisolone (oMP) in comparison with intramuscular adrenocorticotropic hormone (imACTH) and oral prednisolone (oP) therapies in children with infantile spasms (IS). 
Methods: In this prospective, open-label, non-blinded, uncontrolled observational study, children (aged 2-24 months) with newly diagnosed IS presenting with hypsarrhythmia or its variants on electroencephalogram (EEG) were included. It was followed by imACTH, oP, or oMP (32-48 mg/day for 2 weeks followed by tapering) treatments. Electroclinical remission/spasm control, relapse, and adverse effects were evaluated in the short-term (days 14 and 42) and intermediary-term (3, 6, and 12 months) intervals. 
Results: A total of 320 pediatric patients were enrolled: 108, 107, and 105 in the imACTH, oMP, and oP groups, respectively. The proportion of children achieving electroclinical remission on days 14 and 42 was similar among the three groups (day 14: 53.70 vs. 60.75 vs. 51.43%, p = 0.362; day 42: 57.55 vs. 63.46 vs. 55.34%, p = 0.470). The time to response was significantly faster in the oMP group (6.5 [3.00, 10.00] days vs. 8.00 [5.00, 11.00] days for imACTH and 8.00 [5.00, 13.00] days for oP, p = 0.025). Spasm control at 3, 6, and 12 months was also similar in the three groups (P = 0.775, 0.667, and 0.779). The relapse rate in the imACTH group (24.10%) was lower than oMP (30.77%) and oP groups (33.33%), and the time taken for relapse in the imACTH group (79.00 [56.50, 152.00] days) was longer than oMP (62.50 [38.00, 121.75] days) and oP groups (71.50 [40.00, 99.75] days), but the differences were not statistically significant (p = 0.539 and 0.530, respectively). The occurrence of adverse effects was similar among the three groups. 
Conclusions: The short and intermediary-term efficacy and recurrence rates of oMP are not inferior to those of imACTH and oP for the treatment of IS. Significantly, the time to achieve electroclinical remission with oMP was quicker than that with imACTH and oP. Considering its convenience, affordability, and the absence of irreversible side effects, oMP can serve as a form of first-line treatment for newly diagnosed IS.

Adrenocorticotropic Hormone-Independent Cushing Syndrome with Right Adrenal Adenoma and HIV Infection: A Case Report

Background: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-independent Cushing’s syndrome (CS) with right adrenal adenoma combined with HIV infection has rarely been reported.
Case presentation: A 39-year-old Chinese male patient with HIV infection was admitted to our hospital due to increased blood pressure in the previous 2 years and weight gain in the previous 6 months. Endocrinological examinations showed that blood cortisol (8 a.m.) was 22.23 μg/dl, the level of ACTH (8 a.m.) was less than 1pg/ml and twenty-four-hour urinary cortisol was 1429 μg/24h. ACTH-independent CS was diagnosed based on low ACTH levels (<1.00 pg/ml), a lack of cortisol circadian rhythms, and unsuppressed cortisol levels by dexamethasone. The ultrasonography and multislice spiral computed tomography scan revealed a right adrenal mass. Due to the HIV status of the patient, we measured the count of CD4+ T helper cells. Laparoscopic right adrenal resection was performed after the CD4+ T helper cell count was > 200 cells/μl. Subsequent immunohistochemical staining confirmed right adrenal adenoma.
Results: The postoperative recovery was good, and wound healing was possible. After surgical treatment, endocrinological examinations indicated that the level of ACTH increased and the levels of serum cortisol and twenty-four-hour urinary cortisol decreased, which indicated that CS was controlled. CD4/CD8 was 0.47 at reexamination, and the patient’s immunity was improved.
Conclusion: Due to the potential side effects of steroid drugs, clinicians should use these medications with caution and closely monitor the development of adrenal deficiency.

Elevated Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Hypercortisolism, and Marked Hypernatremia

We present a case of refractory hypernatremia in a patient with elevated adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and hypercortisolism. Cortisol’s effect in tissues results in various outcomes, from maintaining blood pressure to increasing serum glucose levels. In addition, cortisol, cortisone, and aldosterone activate mineralocorticoid receptors with the same affinity; therefore, the activation of mineralocorticoid receptors by elevated cortisol levels leads to increased sodium reabsorption, increased potassium secretion, and metabolic alkalosis.
Hypernatremia in our patient was initially refractory to fluid replacement but was eventually corrected with intravenous fluid and desmopressin. Overall, we suggest that hypercortisolism should be considered a differential diagnosis in hypernatremia refractory to fluids replacement.

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Comparison of Bolus and Continuous Infusion of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone During Adrenal Vein Sampling

Background: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is widely used in adrenal vein sampling (AVS) and can be administered as a bolus injection or continuous infusion. The optimal administration method has not been determined. We aimed to compare the effects of ACTH bolus with infusion on cannulation success, lateralization assessment and adverse events (AEs).
Methods: Retrospectively collected data from patients with primary aldosteronism who underwent AVS with ACTH at a tertiary hospital in China. Rate of successful cannulation, lateralization index (LI), complete biochemical remission and AEs related to AVS were analyzed.
Results: The study included 80 patients receiving ACTH bolus and 94 receiving infusions. The rate of successful cannulation was comparable between bolus and infusion groups (75/80, 93.4% vs 88/94, 93.6%). In those with successful cannulation, the bolus group had a higher selectivity index than the infusion group, while LI [6.4(1.8-17.5) vs. 7.6(2.0-27.8), P=0.48] and rate of complete biochemical remission (43/44, 97.7% vs 53/53, 100%, P=0.45) did not significantly differ between the two groups. One in the bolus and one patient in the infusion group had adrenal vein rupture but they recovered with conservative treatment. The bolus group reported more transient AEs such as palpitation (52.9% vs 2.2%) and abdominal discomfort (40.0% vs 2.2%) than the infusion group.
Conclusions: Due to their similar effects on cannulation success and lateralization, but a lower rate of transient AEs in the infusion group, the continuous infusion method should be recommended for ACTH stimulation in AVS.

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