A boy aged 7.6 years presented to our Unit of Paediatric Endocrinology for evaluation of obesity. Progressive weight gain (10 kg) started 6 months earlier after an accidental penetrating orbital injury on the right eye. During this period the child has been treated with oral betamethasone (0.5 mg/day) for 1 month and dexamethasone 2% ocular drops (2 hourly by day) for 6 months. Physical examination showed he was 113.5 cm in height (−1.5 SD), weight 36.0 kg, blood pressure 110/90 mmHg (90th centile), body mass index 28 (+5 SD), truncal obesity, buffalo hump, “moon-face”, increased lanugo hair and supraclavicular fullness. Endocrinological work-up revealed undetectable levels of basal adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), basal and ACTH-stimulated cortisol and 24 h urine excretion cortisol, confirming the diagnosis of iatrogenic Cushing syndrome. The abrupt withdrawal of ocular glucocorticoids by the parents evoked two adrenal crises; 4 months later the patient recovered. In conclusion, we would alert doctors that every formulation of glucocorticoids, no ocular drops excluded, can determine severe systemic side effects and iatrogenic Cushing syndrome.
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Competing interests: none.
Patient consent: Patient/guardian consent was obtained for publication.