Patients with non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPA) suffer from pronounced impairments in physical and mental measures that result in an impairment of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The role of secondary adrenal insufficiency (SAI) and especially the one of the hydrocortisone (HC) replacement dose on the HRQOL seems to be conflicting. The primary aim of this study is to assess the HRQOL in patients with NFPA in terms of presence of SAI and in patients without SAI and the secondary to explore the impact of treatment parameters such as daily HC dose.
In a cross-sectional study we evaluated parameters of HRQOL in 95 patients with NFPA of the Endocrine Outpatient Unit of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich using standardized questionnaires like Short Form (SF-36), Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a self-constructed questionnaire about medical history.
We could not find any significant difference between patients with and without SAI in the standardized questionnaires in terms of HRQOL. We could show that higher doses of HC were negatively correlated with HRQOL measured by SF-36 global health score regardless of using BDI or STAI in the block (β = − 0.397; p = 0.021, β = − 0.390; p = 0.016, respectively).
NFPA patients with SAI do not have a worse HRQOL than patients with NFPA and intact corticotropic axis. We could show that higher doses of HC are associated with an impaired HRQOL measured by SF-36 global and physical health score, whereas mental health score is not significantly influenced by the HC dose.