COVID-19 vaccination: a possible trigger for Addisonian crisis in a patient with Addison’s disease

Olayinka A. Ogundipe, Marjory J. Neill, Vevak Dherwani


Infection with COVID-19 disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Following its identification, the pursuit of the rapid development of effective vaccines became a pandemic-period international public health priority. This report describes the case of an older woman with Addison’s disease who developed acute clinical symptoms and signs indicative of an Addisonian crisis following each of two consecutive doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines. Both presentations (with nausea, vomiting, hypotension, tachycardia, and transient hypoglycaemia) occurred within 24 hours of receipt of the vaccines. In each instance, she responded well to treatment with intravenous fluids, and temporarily changing her maintenance oral steroid regimen to higher dose intravenous steroids. She successfully completed a period of rehabilitation and was discharged home. Some pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic considerations of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are discussed. An overview is presented of Addison’s disease and Addisonian crisis. The discussion also applies two causality assessment systems to derive a classification of ‘probable’ adverse drug reactions for the index case report.


Addison’s disease, Addisonian crisis, Adverse drug reaction, COVID-19, Pharmacovigilance, Vaccination

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