Addison's Disease Self Help Group


ADSHG Information pages offer a wealth of detailed information on diagnosing and managing Addisons disease. Wednesday, 07. January 2015 21:19:56

What to do in an emergency -Addisonian crisis

By:  Katherine White  Wednesday, 28. July 2004

In an emergency, anyone with Addison’s disease can experience symptoms of extreme weakness, a serious drop in blood pressure and mental confusion.  This means they need extra steroid medication immediately, and may need an emergency injection. 


As a general rule, an Addisonian should give themselves an emergency injection of 100mg hydrocortisone sodium (Efcortesol or Solu-Cortef) if they vomit more than once.

The causes of an Addisonian crisis

  • Severe physical shock, e.g. a car accident

  • Severe infection, e.g. flu with a high temperature

  • Severe dehydration, e.g. stomach bug with vomiting

The symptoms of an Addisonian crisis

  • Extreme weakness

  • Mental confusion

  • Extreme drowsiness, in advanced cases slipping towards a coma

  • Pronounced dizziness

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Severe headache

  • Abnormal heart rate – either too fast or too slow

  • Abnormally low blood pressure

  • Feeling extremely cold        

  • Possibly a fever

  • Possibly abdominal tenderness

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 >What to do in an emergency

  Addisonian crisis
  Emergency injections
  Emergency crisis letter
  Real life Experiences
  Addison's Disease Owner’s Manual
  Medi-Tag (UK)
  MedicAlert (UK)

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 Editorial Team: Sarah J. Baker, Deana Kenward, Katherine White - Technical Design: Nick Willson
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