During conventional pharmacologic dose corticosteroid therapy, ACTH production is inhibited with subsequent suppression of cortisol production by the adrenal cortex. Recovery time for normal HPA activity is variable depending upon the dose and duration of treatment. During this time the patient is vulnerable to any stressful situation. Although it has been shown that there is considerably less adrenal suppression following a single morning dose of prednisolone (10 mg) as opposed to a quarter of that dose administered every six hours, there is evidence that some suppressive effect on adrenal activity may be carried over into the following day when pharmacologic doses are used. Further, it has been shown that a single dose of certain corticosteroids will produce adrenal cortical suppression for two or more days. Other corticoids, including methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, and prednisolone, are considered to be short acting (producing adrenal cortical suppression for 1¼ to 1½ days following a single dose) and thus are recommended for alternate day therapy.
For patients who present with rhabdomyolysis, treatment is aimed at preventing kidney failure in the acute setting. Vigorous hydration with close monitoring of kidney function and electrolytes are paramount. In patients with an underlying metabolic myopathy, education about following a more moderate exercise program and avoiding intense exercise and fasting is necessary in preventing recurrent episodes. Measures that have been suggested to be helpful include sucrose loading before exercise in some glycogen storage disorders and a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet in patients with lipid storage disorders.
Acute gout attacks can be managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, or corticosteroids (intra-articular injection or systemic). All three agents are appropriate first-line therapy for acute gout. Therapy should be initiated within 24 hours of onset. The drug selection is dictated by the patient's tolerance of those medications and the presence of any comorbid diseases that contraindicates the use of a specific drug. For patients with severe or refractory gout attacks, practitioners can try combining agents. If all of these medications are contraindicated in a patient, narcotics may be used short term to relieve pain until the acute attack has resolved. Long-term use of narcotics should be avoided.