Intrinsic imperfections of endocrine replacement therapy [pdf]
JA Romijn, JWA Smit and SWJ Lamberts
Overvloed en onbehagen - Uitdagingen voor de moderne endocrinologie
Hormonal substitution therapy has been extremely successful, with respect to morbidity and mortality, in the treatment of the major syndromes of endocrine insufficiency. However, many patients treated for endocrine insufficiencies still suffer from more or less vague complaints and a decreased quality of life.
It is likely that these complaints are, at least in part, caused by intrinsic imperfections of hormone replacement strategies in mimicking normal hormone secretion. Unfortunately, these complaints are often difficult to assess by clinicometric or biochemical tests, because the effects of hormones in general, and thus of hormone replacement strategies in particular, are difficult to quantify at the tissue level. Therefore, in clinical practice we rely mostly on plasma variables – ‘plasma endocrinology’ – which are a poor reflection of hormone action at the tissue level.
Appreciation of these intrinsic shortcomings of endocrine therapy is of utmost importance to prevent incorrect labelling of the complaints of many endocrine patients and to achieve further improvement in endocrine replacement strategies.