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Open access

M Lockhart, E Ali, M Mustafa, W Tormey, S Sreenan, A Saaed, and JH McDermott


A patient treated with intramuscular testosterone replacement therapy for primary hypogonadism developed blurred vision shortly after receiving his testosterone injection. The symptom resolved over subsequent weeks and recurred after his next injection. A diagnosis of central serous chorioretinopathy (CSR) was confirmed following ophthalmology review. A decision was made to change the patient’s testosterone regime from this 12-weekly intramuscular injection to a daily topical testosterone gel, given the possibility that peak blood levels of testosterone following intramuscular injection were causing his ocular complaint. His CSR did not recur after this change in treatment. CSR secondary to testosterone therapy is a rare finding but has been reported previously in the literature.

Learning Points

  • Blurred vision in patients treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) should prompt an ophthalmology review.

  • The potential for reduced risk of central serous chorioretinopathy (CSR) with daily transdermal testosterone remains a matter of conjecture.

  • CSR is a rare potential side effect of TRT.

Open access

Benthe A M Dijkman, Christel J M de Blok, Koen M A Dreijerink, and Martin den Heijer


A 31-year-old woman with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) experienced breast volume fluctuations during biphasic hormone replacement therapy consisting of estradiol and cyclical dydrogesterone, a progestin. 3D breast volume measurements showed a 100 cc volume (17%) difference between estradiol monotherapy and combined estradiol and dydrogesterone treatment. Progestogen-dependent breast volume changes have not been reported in the literature. Our findings suggest a correlation between progestogen use and breast volume. Due to the rapid cyclical changes, we hypothesize that the effect is caused by fluid retention.

Learning points

  • There is limited reports available on the effects of progesterone on breast development and volume.

  • 3D imaging provides an easy-to-use method to quantify breast volume.

  • The patient in our case description clearly showed that cyclic progesterone use might induce substantial cyclic changes in breast volume.

  • In women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), monotherapy with estrogen or continuous supplementation of progesterone might be preferable over cyclic progesterone use.

Open access

Valentim Lopes, Catarina Machado, and Adriana De Sousa Lages


We report a case of a woman with a diagnosis of breast cancer who unintentionally started gaining weight, feeling tired, and constipated 44 weeks after the initiation of trastuzumab. Hypothyroidism secondary to an autoimmune thyroiditis associated with trastuzumab was diagnosed, the first case described in Portugal and the fourth case described worldwide. Our intention regarding the publication of this case report is to alert the clinicians treating people with trastuzumab that they should ask the patients about symptoms of hypothyroidism and should screen the thyroid function of the patients before, during, and after the initiation of trastuzumab.

Learning points

  • Trastuzumab is a humanized MAB used in HER2-positive breast and gastric cancer.

  • Trastuzumab-associated autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) is rare (incidence rate in an RCT of 0.3%).

  • Manifestations of autoimmune thyroiditis associated with trastuzumab resemble those of hypothyroidism in other clinical contexts, but the presence of goiter is highlighted as a reason for medical evaluation. Biochemically, it is characterized by an increased thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) with or without a low FT4/FT3, and sonographically with a pattern of thyroiditis.

  • The treatment consists of levothyroxine, in a dose of 1.6–1.8 µg/kg/day, with re-evaluation of the thyroid function in 4–6 weeks.

  • We report the first case of autoimmune thyroiditis secondary to trastuzumab in Portugal.

  • It is important to evaluate the thyroid function before, during, and after the initiation of this therapeutic agent.

Open access

Sue Sleiman, Feyrous Bacha, and David J Handelsman


We report the successful delivery of a healthy baby after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with frozen-thawed autologous sperm, cryostored for 26 years, the longest successful autologous sperm cryostorage reported. Sperm was cryostored for a 15-year-old boy at the time of his cancer diagnosis. Semen samples were frozen with cryoprotectant, using a graduated vapour-phase nitrogen protocol. Straws were stored in a large vapour-phase nitrogen tank until transfer for use. The couple underwent a single ICSI–in vitro fertilisation procedure using the frozen-thawed sperm with a transfer of five fertilised embryos, resulting in the live birth of a healthy baby boy. This reinforces the importance of offering sperm cryopreservation to men who have not completed their family prior to gonadotoxic treatment for cancer or other diseases. As practical, low-cost fertility insurance, it should be offered to any young man who can collect semen and it provides essentially unlimited duration of fertility preservation.

Learning points

  • Gonadotoxic chemo or radiotherapy treatment for cancer or other diseases usually causes temporary or permanent male infertility.

  • Sperm cryostorage serves as a practical, low-cost insurance to facilitate future paternity.

  • All men who have not completed their families and are scheduled for gonadotoxic treatments should be offered sperm cryostorage.

  • There is no lower age limit for young men who can collect semen.

  • Sperm cryostorage offers essentially indefinite duration for the preservation of male fertility.

Open access

Amanda I Martinez and Nicholas Mezitis


Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, also known as Depo-Provera, is a progesterone-only contraceptive that is administered by injection to patients every three months. We describe the case of a 19-year-old female who was diagnosed with central diabetes insipidus following the administration of the contraceptive injection Depo-Provera. The patient was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome at age 16 and was originally prescribed oral contraceptives to restore menstrual regularity. Three years later, Depo-Provera was substituted for convenience, and symptoms of polyuria and polydipsia appeared one month after initiating the progesterone-only regimen. We are proposing that central diabetes insipidus may be a possible adverse effect of Depo-Provera in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who receive the progesterone-only contraception, due to the interference of their arginine vasopressin mechanism through the alteration of estrogen levels. We review potential mechanisms through the presentation of previously completed research in polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Learning points

  • We propose that although rare, the decrease in estrogen that is experienced during the administration of Depo-Provera can interfere with arginine vasopressin release in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

  • Increased awareness of possible lasting adverse effects on fluid balance with unopposed progesterone administration in PCOS is important, as this case of the development of diabetes insipidus suggests.

  • Discussion of such potential side effects is important when considering contraceptive options for the regulation of menses in patients with PCOS.

Open access

Caoimhe Casey and Tom Higgins


Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland that has previously been described following viral illnesses and occasionally post vaccination such as influenza vaccine. 2021 was a revolutionary year for the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations with multiple different vaccines now available. There are increasing numbers of case reports of thyroiditis following these vaccinations. We report a case of a 50-year-old female who developed subacute thyroiditis 6 days post ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222 produced by AstraZeneca Vaxzevria). The initial thyrotoxic phase was followed by overt hypothyroidism. This resolved spontaneously within 5 months without levothyroxine replacement. We hope that our case will add to the growing literature of cases of thyroiditis occurring after multiple different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and create awareness of this rare but treatable adverse effect. We also review the literature on the proposed mechanisms behind this adverse effect.

Learning points

  • Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland that can occur after a viral illness or vaccination against certain infections.

  • Subacute thyroiditis is a rare adverse effect that has been reported to occur after different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations.

  • Subacute thyroiditis post vaccination is relatively straightforward to manage, with some patients requiring non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers, while more severe cases may require corticosteroid therapy. This adverse effect should not dissuade vaccination use at a population level.

  • There are many postulated mechanisms for the development of subacute thyroiditis following vaccination including the presence of the ACE-2 receptor for SARS-CoV-2 on the thyroid gland, an inflammatory/immune response as is seen in COVID-19 infection itself and molecular mimicry between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and healthy thyroid antigen.

Open access

Annabelle G Hayes, Mahesh M Umapathysivam, and David J Torpy


Sulphonylureas are insulinotropic and are not only useful in patients with diabetes but also act in non-diabetic individuals where hypoglycaemia and hyperinsulinism mimic insulinoma. We present a 63-year-old man who presented with inadvertent sulphonylurea-induced life-threatening hypoglycaemia on two occasions, resulting in hazardous and invasive investigation. Biochemistry revealed endogenous hyperinsulinaemia, with elevated serum c-peptide and insulin concentrations during symptomatic hypoglycaemia, and plasma glucose of 1.7 mmol/L. There was no history of sulphonylurea use prompting anatomical insulinoma studies to locate an insulinoma. However, a routine plasma insulinoma screen-detected glimepiride. Directed history implicated a medication taken for erectile dysfunction prior to disturbed consciousness, with alcohol. The tablets, obtained online, were analysed by mass spectrometry and contained tadalafil and dapoxetine as advertised but also contained glimepiride.

Learning points

  • Symptomatic unexplained hypoglycaemia requires investigation with plasma glucose level, c-peptide, insulin level, pro-insulin, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and a sulphonylurea screen regardless of known exposure to sulphonylureas.

  • Consider contamination of alternative or undisclosed medication, including PDE-5 inhibitor erectile dysfunction drugs.

  • Concomitant alcohol may impair glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, exacerbating hypoglycaemia.

Open access

Sophie Bondje, Camilla Barnes, and Felicity Kaplan


Milk–alkali syndrome (MAS) is a triad of hypercalcaemia, metabolic alkalosis and renal insufficiency. In this study, we present a case of milk–alkali syndrome secondary to concurrent use of over-the-counter (OTC) calcium carbonate-containing antacid tablets (Rennie®) for dyspepsia and calcium carbonate with vitamin D3 (Adcal D3) for osteoporosis. A 72-year-old woman presented with a 2-day history of nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, constipation, lethargy and mild delirium. Past medical history included osteoporosis treated with daily Adcal D3. Initial blood tests showed elevated serum-adjusted calcium of 3.77 mmol/L (normal range, 2.2–2.6) and creatinine of 292 µmol/L (45–84) from a baseline of 84. This was corrected with i.v. pamidronate and i.v. fluids. She developed asymptomatic hypocalcaemia and rebound hyperparathyroidism. Myeloma screen, vasculitis screen and serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) were normal, while the CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis showed renal stones but no malignancy. A bone marrow biopsy showed no evidence of malignancy. Once the delirium resolved, we established that prior to admission, she had been excessively self-medicating with over-the-counter antacids (Rennie®) as required for epigastric pain. The increasing use of calcium preparations for the management of osteoporosis in addition to easily available OTC dyspepsia preparations has made MAS the third most common cause of hypercalcaemia hospitalisations. Educating patients and healthcare professionals on the risks associated with these seemingly safe medications is required. Appropriate warning labels on both calcium preparations used in the management of osteoporosis and OTC calcium-containing preparations would prevent further similar cases and unnecessary morbidity and hospital admission.

Learning points

What is known?

  • An association between high-dose calcium supplementation and hypercalcaemia crisis has been seen in case studies.

  • After as little as 1 week of excessive calcium carbonate ingestion, patients can present with symptomatic hypercalcemia, acute renal failure and metabolic alkalosis ().

  • Women aged 50 and younger need 1 g of calcium per day, while aged 51 and older need 1.2 g ().

  • Although the amount of calcium required for MAS is generally thought to be more than 4 g per day, there have been reports at intakes as low as 1.0–1.5 g per day in pre-existing risk factors including renal impairment ().

What this study adds?

  • The danger of excessive ingestion of antacid is not adequately highlighted to prescribers and patients.

  • Appropriate warning labels on OTC calcium-containing preparations could prevent unnecessary morbidity and hospital admission.

Open access

Clara Cunha, Eugénia Silva, Ana Cláudia Vieira, Catarina Saraiva, and Sequeira Duarte


Immunotherapy has become an important pillar for the management of advanced cancer. Immune-related adverse events including endocrinopathies have been well described with programmed cell death 1 inhibitors such as pembrolizumab. While thyroid dysfunction is the most common endocrinopathy associated with pembrolizumab, new-onset autoimmune diabetes mellitus (DM) is extremely rare. The authors report a case of pembrolizumab-induced primary hypothyroidism and type 1 diabetes mellitus presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). A 59-year-old female patient was treated with pembrolizumab for a stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma. She presented to the emergency department with hyperglycaemia-related signs and symptoms, such as polyuria, polydipsia, weight loss, vomiting, asthenia and dehydration, 3 weeks after her first dose of pembrolizumab. Laboratory evaluation revealed hyperglycaemia, hyperketonaemia and high anion gap metabolic acidaemia consistent with DKA. After prompt and adequate treatment of DKA, she transitioned to s.c. basal-bolus insulin. The diagnose of autoimmune DM was established based on the undetectable C-peptide levels and seropositivity for antiglutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies. Additional hormonal parameters revealed overt hypothyroidism and levothyroxine therapy was initiated. This case highlights the importance of blood glucose and thyroid function monitoring as an integral part of cancer treatment protocols for pembrolizumab and other immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Learning points

  • Programmed cell death 1 (PD1) inhibitors such as pembrolizumab can cause endocrine immune-related adverse events (irAE), including thyroid dysfunction and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

  • Thyroid dysfunction is the most frequent endocrine irAE secondary to PD1 inhibitors.

  • Autoimmune diabetes and possible resultant diabetic ketoacidosis are rare, but life-threatening adverse events associated with pembrolizumab.

  • Pembrolizumab-induced T1DM often present with relatively low HbAlc levels, reflecting the fulminant onset of β-cell destruction.

  • Patients treated with pembrolizumab and other immune checkpoints inhibitors should be monitored regularly for hyperglycaemia and thyroid dysfunction.

Open access

Niamh O’Donnell, Aisling McCarthy, and Ken Thong


Carbimazole is a commonly used antithyroid drug (ATD), which is associated with several well-established side effects. However, Carbimazole-induced rhabdomyolysis is rarely reported in the literature. We report a 27-year-old male who presented with upper limb myalgia and significantly raised creatine kinase elevation, 1-month post commencement of Carbimazole for Graves’ disease. Carbimazole was ceased with subsequent clinical and biochemical improvement. Though the pathophysiology remains unclear, we hope to raise awareness regarding this rare adverse effect with a view to promote early recognition and prompt discontinuation of the offending medication caused by a commonly used medication in endocrinology.

Learning points

  • Musculoskeletal complaints can relate to unidentified and untreated hyperthyroidism. However one must be mindful that the treatment for these disorders can too induce myopathies.

  • ATD-induced myopathy should be considered when there is a temporal relationship between introduction of ATDs and the onset of symptoms.

  • If ATD-induced myopathy is being considered, other causes of myopathy should still be outruled.

  • Prompt discontinuation of potentially offending medications may provide resolution of symptoms and avoid significant consequences.