What is the role of metyrapone stimulation in the workup of pediatric adrenal insufficiency (Addison disease)?

Updated: Dec 07, 2018
  • Author: Kimberly Tafuri, DO; Chief Editor: Sasigarn A Bowden, MD  more...
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Standard metyrapone stimulation tests involve administering metyrapone 300 mg/m2 in 6 divided doses over 24 hours. Because metyrapone inhibits 11-hydroxylase, which is involved in the last enzymatic step in cortisol synthesis, plasma levels of the cortisol precursor, 11-deoxycortisol, increase. A normal response is a rise in 11-deoxycortisol concentrations to more than 10.5 mcg/dL 4 hours after the last dose of metyrapone is given or a 2-fold to 3-fold increase in 24-hour urinary concentrations of 17-hydroxycorticosteroid (which include tetrahydro compound S, a urinary metabolite of 11-deoxycortisol) on the day of or the day after the administration of metyrapone.

This test is cumbersome and carries some risk of inducing an adrenal crisis.

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