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Papers of the Week

2020 Jul 19




Isolated Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Deficiency Secondary to Chronic Opiate Use.


Raj R, Jacob A, Elshimy G, Smith J
Cureus. 2020 Jul 19; 12(7):e9270.
PMID: 32821615.


Although opiate use can result in various endocrine disorders, isolated adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency resulting in secondary adrenal insufficiency remains uncommon. We present a case of a 54-year-old woman with a history of chronic opiate use who presented with a four-month history of worsening fatigue and syncopal episodes. Laboratory workup revealed a low ACTH with low baseline cortisol and normal levels of rest of the anterior pituitary hormones. The imaging study did not reveal any pituitary abnormality. The patient was diagnosed with opiate-induced isolated ACTH deficiency. Her symptoms improved after treatment with hydrocortisone. This case would further improve clinician's awareness towards opiate-induced endocrinopathies, including isolated ACTH deficiency, which can present with nonspecific signs and symptoms, creating a diagnostic challenge.