Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 3 of 3 items for

  • Author: Stephen M Twigg x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Open access

Angela S Lee and Stephen M Twigg


Adrenal insufficiency is a rare cause of hypercalcaemia and should be considered when more common causes such as primary hyperparathyroidism and malignancy are excluded. Opioid therapy as a cause of adrenal insufficiency is a possibly under-recognised endocrinopathy with potentially life-threatening adverse effects. We report on a case of opioid-induced secondary adrenal insufficiency presenting as hypercalcaemia. The patient was a 25-year-old man who developed hypercalcaemia during the recovery stage after a period of critical illness. Systematic investigation of his hypercalcaemia found it to be due to secondary adrenal insufficiency, developing as a consequence of methadone opioid analgesia. Treatment with i.v. saline and subsequent glucocorticoid replacement led to resolution of the hypercalcaemia. The hypoadrenalism resolved when opioids were subsequently weaned and ceased. These two interacting endocrinopathies of opioid-induced adrenal insufficiency and consequent hypercalcaemia highlight the importance of maintaining awareness of the potentially serious adverse clinical outcomes which can occur as a result of opioids, particularly considering that symptoms of hypoadrenalism can overlap with those of concomitant illness. Treatment with hydration and glucocorticoid replacement is effective in promptly resolving the hypercalcaemia due to hypoadrenalism. Hypoadrenalism due to prescribed and recreational opioids may be more common than is currently recognised.

Learning points

  • Opioid therapy can cause clinically significant secondary adrenal insufficiency, and this may be more common than is currently recognised.

  • Adrenal insufficiency is reversible after discontinuation of the opioid therapy.

  • Hypercalcaemia can occur as a consequence of adrenal insufficiency, and may be the presenting feature.

  • Treatment of hypercalcaemia due to adrenal insufficiency involves i.v. saline and glucocorticoid replacement.

Open access

Beryl Lin and Stephen M Twigg


Functional hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is a relatively common condition in middle-aged to elderly men that can significantly impair quality of life. Besides lifestyle optimisation, androgen replacement remains the mainstay of treatment; however, its adverse effects on spermatogenesis and testicular atrophy are undesirable. Clomiphene citrate is a selective oestrogen receptor modulator that acts centrally to increase endogenous testosterone without affecting fertility. Although it has demonstrated effectiveness in shorter-duration studies, its longer-term outcomes are less well-documented. In this study, we report the case of a 42-year-old male with functional hypogonadotropic hypogonadism who sustained an excellent dose-dependent, titratable clinical and biochemical response to clomiphene citrate with no known adverse effects for 7 years to date. This case highlights that clomiphene citrate has potential as a safe and titratable longer-term treatment option, and the need for further randomised control trials in therapy options to normalise androgen status.

Learning points

  • Functional hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is a relatively common, but likely underdiagnosed, condition in middle-aged to older males.

  • Testosterone replacement is the current mainstay of endocrine therapy but can cause sub-fertility and testicular atrophy.

  • Clomiphene citrate is a serum oestrogen receptor modulator that acts centrally to increase endogenous testosterone production without affecting fertility.

  • It has potential as a safe and efficacious longer-term treatment option that can be titrated to increase testosterone and relieve clinical symptoms in a dose-dependent manner.

  • Longitudinal prospective studies as randomised control trials evaluating alternatives to exogenous testosterone are required.

Open access

Nandini Shankara Narayana, Anne-Maree Kean, Lisa Ewans, Thomas Ohnesorg, Katie L Ayers, Geoff Watson, Arthur Vasilaras, Andrew H Sinclair, Stephen M Twigg, and David J Handelsman


46,XX disorders of sexual development (DSDs) occur rarely and result from disruptions of the genetic pathways underlying gonadal development and differentiation. We present a case of a young phenotypic male with 46,XX SRY-negative ovotesticular DSD resulting from a duplication upstream of SOX9 presenting with a painful testicular mass resulting from ovulation into an ovotestis. We present a literature review of ovulation in phenotypic men and discuss the role of SRY and SOX9 in testicular development, including the role of SOX9 upstream enhancer region duplication in female-to-male sex reversal.

Learning points:

  • In mammals, the early gonad is bipotent and can differentiate into either a testis or an ovary. SRY is the master switch in testis determination, responsible for differentiation of the bipotent gonad into testis.

  • SRY activates SOX9 gene, SOX9 as a transcription factor is the second major gene involved in male sex determination. SOX9 drives the proliferation of Sertoli cells and activates AMH/MIS repressing the ovary. SOX9 is sufficient to induce testis formation and can substitute for SRY function.

  • Assessing karyotype and then determination of the presence or absence of Mullerian structures are necessary serial investigations in any case of DSD, except for mixed gonadal dysgenesis identified by karyotype alone.

  • Treatment is ideal in a multidisciplinary setting with considerations to genetic (implications to family and reproductive recurrence risk), psychological aspects (sensitive individualized counseling including patient gender identity and preference), endocrinological (hormone replacement), surgical (cosmetic, prophylactic gonadectomy) fertility preservation and reproductive opportunities and metabolic health (cardiovascular and bones).