From the Journals

Endocrine Society updates guidelines for congenital adrenal hyperplasia



New data on neonatal screening, protocols for adults and pregnant women, and approaches to genital reconstruction surgery are key elements of the guidelines on the congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency recently updated by the Endocrine Society.

The guidelines are an update to the 2010 Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline on congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency. They were published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Richard J. Auchus, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and coauthor of the 2018 guidelines, said many of the guidelines remain the same, such as use of neonatal screening. However, neonatal diagnosis methods should use gestational age and birth weight or liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry for secondary screening. The authors also noted that the addition of commercially available serum 21-deoxycortisol measurements, while untested, could potentially help identify CAH carriers.

Changes in genital reconstructive surgery were also addressed in the new guidelines, and a recent systematic review and meta-analysis found a “favorable benefit to risk ratio” for both early and late genital reconstructive surgery. Dr. Auchus said the timing of the surgery remains controversial and that there were “downsides of both approaches.”

“I wish there was a straightforward and perfect solution, but I don’t think there is,” he said in an interview.

Dexamethasone for the prenatal treatment of CAH, and prenatal therapy in general is still regarded as experimental and is not recommended, Dr. Auchus said. The authors encouraged pregnant women who are considering prenatal treatment of CAH to go through Institutional Review Board–approved centers that can obtain outcomes. Pregnant women should not receive a glucocorticoid that traverses the placenta, such as dexamethasone.

Classical CAH should be treated with hydrocortisone maintenance therapy, while nonclassic CAH patients should receive glucocorticoid treatment, such as in cases of early onset and rapid progression of pubarche or bone age in children and overt virilization in adolescents.

Dr. Auchus said the new guidelines have been reorganized so information is easier to find, with recommendations beginning at birth before transitioning into recommendations for childhood and adulthood.

“I think the pediatric endocrinologists are familiar with the management of this disease, but I think a lot of the internal medicine endocrinologists don’t get much training in fellowships, and I think it will be easy for them now to find the information,” Dr. Auchus said. “[I]n the previous set of guidelines, it would’ve been difficult for them to find the information that’s scattered throughout.”

However, Dr. Auchus noted, the guidelines were careful to avoid recommendations of specific levels for analyzing biomarkers for monitoring treatment and specific doses. “[W]e gave some general ideas about ranges: that they should be low, they should be normal, they should be not very high, but it’s okay if it’s a little bit high,” he added.

Also, the evidence for the recommendations is limited to best practice guidelines because of a lack of randomized controlled trials, he noted.

“We certainly do need additional long-term data on these patients,” Dr. Auchus said. “[I]t’s our hope that with some of the networks that have been developed for studying adrenal diseases that we can collect that information in a minimally intrusive way for the benefit of all the current and future patients.”

The guidelines were funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health. The authors report various personal and organizational financial interests in the form of paid consultancies, researcher support positions, advisory board memberships and investigator roles. See the full study for a complete list of disclosures.

SOURCE: Speiser PW et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Sep 27. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01865.

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