Describe three common side effects of corticosteroid treatment for Addison’s disease.
What factors make a diagnosis of Addison’s disease problematic for adolescents?
Discuss why an interprofessional team is appropriate for this situation, who should be
included on the team and the role of the RN on the team.
Long-term use of corticosteroids
Side effects of using corticosteroid to treat Addison’s disease
Patients diagnosed with Addison’s disease needs to take up their medication daily in
order to replace the inadequate hormones. This normally helps the patients to live a normal
life. Treatment mainly involves use of corticosteroids (steroid therapy) to replace hormones
lost and those not produced by the aldosterone. Although these medications are effective,
corticosteroids are associated with short term and long term side effects (Bentley, 2011)
The short-term side effects includes stomach upset, increased irritability, weight gain
due to water retention, increased fat on the face, unusual hair growth , high blood pressure,
and risk of other infections. The long-term side effects include muscle weakness, brittle
bones, and stunted growth among the children. To minimize such side effects, people taking
the drugs should be watched carefully and of necessary, their doses reduced as low doses can
be effective and have minimal side effects (In Arieti, 2014).
Factors that make it problematic for management Addison’s disease in adolescents
Long-term use of corticosteroids 2
The process of diagnosing Adrenal insufficiency is usually a challenge. This is
because most of clinical manifestation are nonspecific, and tend to vary according to the
underlying causative agent and extent of disease progress. It is important to make early
diagnosis as the disease can be life threatening if not diagnosed early enough. The signs and
symptoms and management of the diseases are the main challenges faced by the adolescents
diagnosed with Addison’s disease. These include issues such as fatigue, malaise, and general
muscle weakness. This negatively impacts on quality of life and their daily activities (Helms,
Importance of inter-professional team for treatment of Addison disease
Team-work in management of Addison disease is important as it aids in improving
patient quality of life, reduce mortality, improve communication, reduce errors, and increase
patient satisfaction. In this case study, healthcare staff from the following disciplines should
work together when delivering care to Addison’s patients. These include physicians, nurses,
nutritionists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists. This will help in developing a detailed case
related information, which facilitates the decision making processes (Bar, 2013).
Long-term use of corticosteroids 3
Bar, R. S. (2013). Early diagnosis and treatment of endocrine disorders. Totowa, N.J:
Bentley, P. J. (2011). Endocrine pharmacology: Physiological basis and therapeutic
applications. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.
Helms, R. A. (2015). Textbook of therapeutics: Drug and disease management. Philadelphia,
Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
In Arieti, S. (2014). American handbook of psychiatry. New York: Basic Books.