The hormones, peptides and neurotransmitters of the neuroendocrine system maintain homeostasis, energy balance and reproductive function. They act in concert to regulate functions critically important organs, including the liver, kidneys, muscles, bone, vasculature, intestinal tract, thyroid, adrenal glands, adipocytes, and gonads, via a multitude of intermediary pathways.
The large number of drugs prescribed these days increases the potential for serious immune, endocrine and metabolic disorders. Endocrine and metabolic disturbances may be caused by endogenous processes, such as when a tumor secretes excessive hormones, or by exogenous drug administration. Drugs can cause these disturbances, among other mechanisms, through:
- Directly altering hormone production
- Changing the regulation of the hormonal axis
- Changing the counter-regulatory hormone systems
- Affecting hormonal transport
- Binding or signaling
Drugs can also affect the assessment of endocrine parameters by interfering with diagnostic tests.
Drug-induced endocrine and metabolic disorders include calcium and electrolyte abnormalities and disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, the thyroid, and the gonads. These may result in conditions, including:
While endocrine, metabolic, immune, and for that mater, neurological systems work together in overlapping roles, the following additional conditions have been, or are suspected to be, associated with disturbances of the immune system: