What is the role of an insulin-tolerance test in the workup of pediatric adrenal insufficiency (Addison disease)?

Updated: Mar 10, 2020
  • Author: Kimberly Tafuri, DO; Chief Editor: Sasigarn A Bowden, MD  more...
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An insulin-tolerance test requires an intravenous administration of insulin (usually regular insulin 0.05-0.15 U/kg) to induce a 50% reduction in blood sugar concentration. Cortisol and glucose concentrations are measured every 15 minutes for 60 minutes. The test is considered adequate if the blood sugars level decreases by at least 50%. In response to the hypoglycemic stimulus, serum or plasma cortisol concentrations should rise to more than 18-20 mcg/dL.

The insulin-tolerance test poses some risk of hypoglycemic seizure. Therefore, closely monitor the patient and reverse the hypoglycemia if the patient becomes overtly symptomatic.

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