2001 Volume 48 Issue 6 Pages 665-669
Standard therapy for ACTH-independent bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (AIMAH), a rare form of Cushing's syndrome, is bilateral adrenalectomy. Patients with AIMAH are usually elderly, with a variety of complications, and at risk for surgery. Postoperatively, they must receive lifelong corticosteroids and spend the remainder of their lives avoiding adrenal crisis. Therapy using metyrapone, a potent inhibitor of steroidogenesis, provides the advantages of avoiding the surgery. Its effectiveness is further anticipated because adrenal steroidogenic enzymes are reportedly weak in AIMAH. Treatment with metyrapone thus appears a good therapy for AIMAH, but its effectiveness has not, to our knowledge, been studied. We treated a 59-year-old man with AIMAH with metyrapone. At a low dose of metyrapone (500 to 750mg/day), his plasma cortisol levels decreased to the normal range, and hypertension and diabetes mellitus were ameliorated. Therapy using metyrapone thus appears effective in treating AIMAH, and can be recommended for high risk AIMAH patients as an alternative therapy.