Authors:Peter Igaz, Károly Rácz, Miklós Tóth, Edith Gláz, and Zsolt Tulassay
Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome is the most common form of hypercortisolism. Glucocorticoids are widely used for the treatment of various diseases, often in high doses that may lead to the development of severe hypercortisolism. Iatrogenic hypercortisolism is unique, as the application of exogenous glucocorticoids leads to the simultaneous presence of symptoms specific for hypercortisolism and the suppression of the endogenous hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The principal question of its therapy is related to the problem of glucocorticoid withdrawal. There is considerable interindividual variability in the suppression and recovery of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, therefore, glucocorticoid withdrawal and substitution can only be conducted in a stepwise manner with careful clinical follow-up and regular laboratory examinations regarding endogenous hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. Three major complications which can be associated with glucocorticoid withdrawal are: i. reactivation of the underlying disease, ii. secondary adrenal insufficiency, iii. steroid withdrawal syndrome. Here, the authors summarize the most important aspects of this area based on their clinical experience and the available literature data.