Emergency Information

An adrenal crisis can be life-threatening and must be treated with extra steroids immediately.

In an emergency, people with adrenal insufficiency (such as CAH, Addison’s disease) or anyone who is “steroid-dependent” may experience symptoms of extreme weakness, a significant drop in blood pressuredrowsiness or mental confusion. This is known as an “adrenal crisis” (or “Addisonian crisis”).

An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately with extra steroid medication (usually by administering an emergency steroid injection kit).

In the video, Prof John Wass, Chair of the Addisons Disease Self Help Group Clinical Advisory Panel, discusses the symptoms of an adrenal crisis, how people with adrenal insufficiency should know when to give themselves an emergency injection and what to do next.


A short video from Liverpool University Hospitals to educate patients with adrenal insufficiency around the management of their steroid replacement therapy. Guidance on how to administer injections starts at 5min 35sec. 


BSPED Adrenal Insufficiency Consensus Guidelines (for Children and Young People)

Clinical resources for emergency and peri-operative management of adrenal insufficiency in children and young people. This resource was developed by the Paediatric Adrenal Insufficiency Group on behalf of the British Society of Paediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes (BSPED).

Society for Endocrinology Clinical Guidance for Adrenal Crisis

Clinical guidance for adrenal crisis as well as links to the NHS Steroid Card and Sick Day Rules (a direct link to sick day rules is available on the ‘More Resources’ tab).

Addison’s Self-Help Group Guidance

Guidance from the ASHG about how to spot and treat an adrenal crisis, as well as some guides about administering injection kits.

Society for Endocrinology Sick Day Rules

What to do if you are unwell or require surgery.

COVID-19 and Adrenal Crisis

Advice from the Society for Endocrinology for those with adrenal insufficiency and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

Support Group useful downloads


  • A lettter to register steorid dependancy with your local ambulance trust
  • A letter containing information for schools and carers
  • A link to the NHS Steroid card
MyCortisol App

A mobile app created for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust. It aims to help with the administration of the emergency injection kit. The app includes a helpful video and a pictorial guide. Available on both Android and iPhone, links below.

My Cortisol – Apps on Google Play

My Cortisol on the App Store (apple.com)

The CAH Support Group is affiliated with Society for Endocrinology, an organisation that supports clinicians, scientists and nurses who work with hormones throughout their careers. They engage policy-makers, journalists, patients and the public with hormone science to encourage informed health decisions, and to demonstrate the value of endocrinology to the wider world and also maintains a public information website, You and Your Hormones.

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