Addison's Disease Treatment
Typically, Addison's disease treatment consists of replacing, or substituting, the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making. Although there is no cure for Addison's disease, it can be controlled with medication. Treatment involves oral medication, often consisting of hydrocortisone tablets, mineralocorticoids, or sometimes both.
An Overview of Addison's Disease Treatment
There is no cure for Addison's disease; however, Addison's disease can be controlled with medications. Treating Addison's disease involves counteracting the adrenal gland malfunction by replacing, or substituting, the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making.
Most people with Addison's disease should expect to lead healthy lives with a normal life expectancy.
Replacing Cortisol, Aldosterone, or Both
If cortisol is deficient, treatment involves oral hydrocortisone tablets, a synthetic glucocorticoid, taken once or twice a day. If aldosterone is also deficient, treatment consists of oral doses of a mineralocorticoid called fludrocortisone acetate (Florinef®), which is taken once a day.
Patients receiving aldosterone replacement therapy are usually advised by a doctor to increase their salt intake. The doses of each of these treatment medications are adjusted to meet the needs of individual patients with Addison's disease.
Addison's Disease Treatment During an Addisonian Crisis
During an addisonian crisis, low blood pressure, low blood glucose, and high levels of potassium can be life-threatening. Treatment during such a crisis involves intravenous injections of hydrocortisone, saline (salt water), and dextrose (sugar). This treatment usually brings rapid improvement.
(Click Addisonian Crisis Treatment for more information about treating an addisonian crisis and ways to help reduce your risk of having one in the first place.)
Taking medications is a critical part of treating Addison's disease. It is also very important for people to understand their disease and situations that can affect their hormone levels. For more information about living with Addison's disease, click on any of the following eMedTV articles: