Research Article

Adrenocortical suppression in workers manufacturing synthetic glucocorticoids.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 14 January 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:73
  1. R W Newton,
  2. M C Browning,
  3. J Iqbal,
  4. N Piercy,
  5. D G Adamson


    A man who had worked for 16 years in the manufacture of a potent corticosteroid was found to be suffering from chronic adrenocortical insufficiency attributed to chronic absorption of the glucocorticoid. Eleven other symptom-free workers were therefore screened. Two of these workers, like the first patient, gave grossly abnormal responses to the Synacthen (tetracosactrin) test; one had been employed for only seven months. All 12 men had facial plethora, suggesting absorption of the drug in spite of their having adhered to the safety precautions. All workers manufacturing potent steroids should therfore be screened regularly by measurement of their plasma cortisol concentrations and should be moved regularly to processing other drugs.