To evaluate the impact of type and dose of swallowed topical steroids (STS) and concurrent steroid therapy on the development and resolution of adrenal insufficiency (AI) in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).
We performed a retrospective case-control study of pediatric EoE subjects in a single tertiary care center, who were treated with STS for at least 3 months and diagnosed with AI based on a peak stimulated cortisol level of <18 µg/dL (500 nmol/L). Steroid forms and doses, and endoscopy data were collected at the time of AI diagnosis and AI resolution or the last known evaluation. Steroid formulations were converted to a fluticasone-equivalent dose for analysis.
Thirty-two EoE subjects with AI were identified, and 20 had AI resolution, including 12 who remained on lower dose STS. Eight of the 32 patients were also treated with extended-release budesonide (ER budesonide), which resulted in a 7-fold higher total daily steroid dose, and thus were analyzed separately. When the 24 cases that were not on ER budesonide were compared to the 81 controls, no difference was found in the STS dose nor total daily steroid dose, although the inhaled steroid dose had marginal significance. Peak eosinophil counts tended to increase when STS doses were decreased, except in subjects on ER budesonide at AI diagnosis.
Altering the total daily steroid regimen can lead to resolution of AI in patients with EoE, though this may come at the expense of disease control.