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Protocol Details

A Pilot Study Assessing the Use of Continuous Subcutaneous Hydrocortisone Infusion in the Treatment of congenital adrenal Hyperplasia

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Recruitment Detail

Type: Participants currently recruited/enrolled
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 18
Max Age: 99

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)


Special Instructions

Currently Not Provided


adrenal Insufficiency;
congenital adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH);

Recruitment Keyword(s)



adrenal Insufficiency;
Excess Androgen;
congenital adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

Investigational Drug(s)

Hydrocortisone sodium succinate solution

Investigational Device(s)



Drug: Hydrocortisone (Solucortef)
Device: Insulin pump (Medtronic)

Supporting Site

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


- congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a genetic disorder of the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is located in the abdomen and produces small amounts of hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, and androgen. These hormones help control blood pressure, protect the body, and maintain good health, especially during development. People with CAH do not make enough cortisol and aldosterone, and make too much androgen. This can lead to serious medical problems. The standard treatment is to take pills that mimic the effects of cortisol and aldosterone. However, treatment with pills can have long-term side effects because of the higher doses needed, and may not work well for some people.

- A possible new treatment for CAH is to use a pump to deliver cortisol under the skin. Similar pumps are often used to give insulin to people with diabetes. Researchers think that a cortisol pump might be able to help the body use the cortisol more effectively than taking pills. They want to compare the results of a cortisol pump and standard pill treatments for CAH.


- To compare the effectiveness of a cortisol pump with standard cortisol pill therapy for CAH.


- Men and women at least 18 years of age who have CAH (see more details in Eligibility section below).


- This study will involve four inpatient hospital stays at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD over 6 months (spaced 2 months apart). The first and last stays will last about 5 days. The second and third stays will last about 3 days.

- Participants will be screened with a physical exam and medical history. Blood and urine samples will be collected.

- At the first study visit, participants will provide regular blood and urine samples. They will also have imaging studies. These studies will look at the bones, fat, and muscles in the abdomen and pelvis.

- Participants will receive a cortisol pump during the first visit. They will be shown how to use the pump. They will also learn what to do, if they need to take extra "stress dose" cortisol pills.

- At the second and third visits, the cortisol dose given with the pump will be adjusted as needed. Blood and urine samples will also be collected. No imaging studies are scheduled for these visits.

- The last study visit will have the same tests as the first visit. Participants will be offered the chance to continue with the pump treatment for 1 more year, or go back to their standard pill treatment.

Study type: Interventional non-randomized trial

Official title: A Pilot Study Assessing the use of Continuous Subcutaneous Hydrocortisone Infusion In the Treatment of congenital adrenal Hyperplasia

Estimated enrollment: 8

Study Start Date: May 2013

Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2016

Sponsoring Institute: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Inclusion criteria

1) Men and women 18 years of age or older with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (21-Hydroxylase deficiency)

2) High adrenal androgens in the blood, and

3) One or more of the following conditions: obesity, fatty liver, risk for diabetes, low bone mass, inability to tolerate cortisol pills

Exclusion criteria

1) Pregnancy

2) Breast feeding

3) Use of inhaled or oral steroids for diseases other than CAH

4) Use of estrogen-containing birth control pills

5) Use of medicines that cross-react with hydrocortisone

6) Use of stress dose steroids for illness during the last 30 days prior to joining the study

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- Patients with known classic CAH due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency as evidenced by hormonal and genetic testing

- Male or female patients 18 years or older

- Females must have a negative pregnancy test initially and at all visits. Sexually active females must be using a medically acceptable method of contraception.

- Patients with elevated adrenal androgens (defined as 17-OHP > 1200 ng/dL and androstenedione > 210 ng/dL)

- One or more co-morbidities:< TAB>

-Obesity [body mass index (BMI) greater than 30.0 kg/m(2)]

-Fatty liver disease; assessed by AST/ALT liver enzyme ratio (AST to ALT ratio < 1 (11)) liver ultrasound or MRI imaging (Steatosis score as previously described)

-Low insulin sensitivity; assessed by the Homeostasis Model Assessment Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) method [HOMA-IR = insulin (micro U/ml) times glucose (mmol/L)/ 22.5]. Elevated HOMA-IR index is defined as > 2.6 in adults17.

-Osteopenia [bone mineral density by DEXA (at the spine, hip, or forearm) with T-score of -1 to -2.5) or osteoporosis (bone mineral density by DEXA (at the spine, hip, or forearm) with T-score of < -2.5] defined according to World Health Organization (WHO).

-Glucocorticoid-related gastrointestinal side effects (nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, anorexia, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric bleeding)


- Co-morbid conditions requiring daily administration of medications that induce hepatic enzymes or interfere with the metabolism of glucocorticoids

- Females who are pregnant or lactating

- Patients on inhaled or oral steroids given for reasons other than treatment of CAH

- Women who have taken estrogen-containing oral contraceptive pills within 6 weeks of recruitment

- Patients who required stress dose glucocorticoids for an illness within 4 weeks of recruitment

- Patients who changed their glucocorticoid agent within 3 months of recruitment

- Patients who underwent bilateral adrenalectomy

- Co-morbid conditions that could interfere with the ability to comply to the protocol

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Debono M, Ghobadi C, Rostami-Hodjegan A, Huatan H, Campbell MJ, Newell-Price J, Darzy K, Merke DP, Arlt W, Ross RJ. Modified-release hydrocortisone to provide circadian cortisol profiles. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 May;94(5):1548-54. doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-2380. Epub 2009 Feb 17.

Finkielstain GP, Kim MS, Sinaii N, Nishitani M, Van Ryzin C, Hill SC, Reynolds JC, Hanna RM, Merke DP. Clinical characteristics of a cohort of 244 patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Dec;97(12):4429-38. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-2102. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Arlt W, Willis DS, Wild SH, Krone N, Doherty EJ, Hahner S, Han TS, Carroll PV, Conway GS, Rees DA, Stimson RH, Walker BR, Connell JM, Ross RJ; United Kingdom congenital adrenal Hyperplasia Adult Study Executive (CaHASE). Health status of adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia: a cohort study of 203 patients. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Nov;95(11):5110-21. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0917. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

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Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Deborah P. Merke, M.D.
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Ashwini Mallappa, M.D.
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
BG 10-CRC RM 1-2610
(301) 496-4047

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office
Building 61
10 Cloister Court
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4754
Toll Free: 1-800-411-1222
TTY: 301-594-9774 (local),1-866-411-1010 (toll free)
Fax: 301-480-9793

Clinical Trials Number:


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