Patients with chronic airflow obstruction were given a three-week course of prednisolone 40 mg per day. The basal plasma cortisol level and response to tetracosactrin were depressed after such a course. Basal plasma cortisol and corticotrophin (ACTH) levels were measured on five consecutive days after three weeks of treatment with prednisolone and were found to rise simultaneously to control levels within three days. Pituitary and adrenal functions were depressed for four days after short high dose courses of corticosteroids and patients may be at risk if they encounter stress during this time.
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