I began using a Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm 715 pump to infuse solu-cortef as my main treatment for my Adrenal Insufficiency in early 2014.
I could not publicly announce it when I first started treatment because the door opened up in an unorthodox and unexpected way. Also, please note that the use of a pump for Adrenal Insufficiency is very contentious within the medical community. It definitely makes some doctors nervous.
The Cortisol Pump Is…
- An alternative way to deliver our life saving cortisol steroids.
The pump is a very accurate medicine delivery system using an alternate deliver method for a known and approved Adrenal Insufficiency treatment (solu-cortef) in order to create cortisol levels similar to that of a person with a normally functioning endocrine system.
The Cortisol Pump Is NOT…
- A plug and play quick fix magical solution.
The pump is a very individualized treatment plan. It takes each patient a different amount of time to find their ideal dose and rates. Things are further complicated when dealing with multiple illnesses and diseases. I say this not to discourage those seeking this treatment. I just want to caution them. The pump takes work.
Professor Hindmarsh’s Work
The doctor that pioneered this method is Professor Peter Hindmarsh of Great Ormond Street Hospital in the UK. He has done amazing work for improving the quality of life and treatment for those living with Adrenal Insufficiency. A great wealth of resources can be found at his website here. Below are three links from Great Ormond Street Hospital that are useful:
- Circadian Rhythm Dosing
- The Value of 24 Hour Profiles in Accessing Cortisol Replacement in Addison’s
- Using the Pump Method to Deliver Cortisol
- Management of Altered Hydrocortisone Pharmacokinetics in a Boy with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Using a Continuous Subcutaneous Hydrocortisone Infusion. Sinead M. Bryan, John W. Honour, and Peter C Hindmarsh.
- Results of the Prolonged Use of Subcutaneous Continuous Infusion of Hydrocortisone in a Man with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Emmanuel Sonnet, Nathalie Roudaut, and Verionique Kerlan.
- Continuous subcutaneous hydrocortisone infusion in Addison’s disease. Kristian Løva˚s and Eystein S Husebye.
High Level Summary
- Continuous Hydrocortisone Infusion Bests Oral Therapy for Quality of Life in Addison’s Disease: Presented at ENDO.
Advice for those with Adrenal Insufficiency Wanting the Pump:
A cortisol pump is a very individualized treatment that must take many factors into account. It also requires a completely new mindset. Did this treatment drastically improve my quality of life? Yes. Does it take a large amount of work? Yes.
After using this treatment for over a year, it is my personal belief that the pump will never be the mainstream treatment for Adrenal Insufficiency. BUT there are many who can benefit from it. If you want one, the best thing for you to do is research. Do your homework. Learn the good and the bad. Present a case to your current doctor. See if there is an open door.
The data is there. This treatment works. But you must be your own advocate for it.