Adrenal dysfunction is usually treated by replacing or substituting the hormones that adrenal glands fail to produce. Cortisol may be replaced with a corticosteroid such as prednisone, or if aldosterone is deficient, it may be replaced with a mineralocorticoid hormone, reports the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service.
Addison's disease is the most common cause of adrenal insufficiency in the United States and requires lifelong hormone replacement with glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, states Cleveland Clinic. Generally, dosages vary throughout the day and mimic the physiologic pattern. Minimal dosages include 12.5 to 15 milligrams of hydrocortisone in the morning and 2.5 to 5 milligrams at noon. If an individual repeatedly experiences fatigue in the afternoon, they may receive an additional dose later in the day.
Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening emergency that usually presents with symptoms of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and shock, according to the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. Standard treatment for this adrenal dysfunction involves immediate intravenous injections of corticosteroids and dextrose. If a patient experiences adrenal crisis and is able to take liquids and medications by mouth, corticosteroids may be reduced until normal hormone levels are achieved. If adrenal crisis is accompanied by a deficiency in aldosterone, physicians typically recommend regular oral doses of fludrocortisone acetate.