To the Editor: In recent years the therapeutic use of corticotropin and adrenal cortical steroids has been advocated in a wide variety of diseases. In some these drugs have been lifesaving; in others they were not only disappointing failures, but also detrimental to the patient. A short time ago I witnessed yet another danger associated with the use of corticotropin.
Crosse1,2 has recently stated that when corticotropin is administered to premature infants with hyperbilirubinemia the indirect bilirubin level will drop. In an attempt to duplicate her work a pilot project was devised in which half of 30 randomly selected prematures were to receive corticotropin in doses outlined by Crosse and half isotonic saline. The work was abruptly terminated after 10 infants had been studied, when it became apparent that corticotropin is harmful to premature infants.
Each of the 5 infants receiving the drug contracted a severe infection, while none
AGELOFF A. CORTICOTROPIN IN PREMATURES. Am J Dis Child. 1963;105(3):313-314. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080040315019