Homepage of Dr. William McK. Jefferies

(( Dr. Jefferies has retired from active medical practice. ))

(Honorary) Professor
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Charlottesville, Virginia


Success of the human body’s defenses against stress (injury or infection, for example) depend critically on the ability of the adrenal glands to produce appropriate amounts of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is a very dynamic hormone, with normal production and consumption fluctuating from minute to minute. Since the early 1950’s, cortisone and cortisol — formerly called hydrocortisone — have been commercially available for prescription use. (Because cortisone must be converted to cortisol before producing its physiologic effects, the term cortisol is now preferred to refer to the normal hormone.)

Research Focus

Safe Uses of Cortisol, Second Edition. (Published July, 1996)

Many patients who have suffered from rheumatoid arthritis or from other autoimmune disorders or from chronic allergies or from chronic fatigue syndrome have found that small, safe dosages of cortisol have been dramatically beneficial when prescribed by their physicians according to the author’s therapeutic recommendations. This second edition is an update on Safe Uses of Cortisone that was published in 1981.

A Continuation of the Cortisone Story

Excerpts from a 1994 article which describes the diagnosis of mild adrenocortical deficiency and its safe and effective treatment with small, physiologic dosages of cortisol, as well as factors that have led to the bad reputation of this normal hormone.

Low Dosage Glucocorticoid Therapy

Excerpts from a 1967 article which presents the rationale for, and research findings documenting the effectiveness and safety of this therapy, with particular focus on two cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Micheal Doyle, MD Michael E. Doyle, MD, is a board-certified family physician with nearly two decades of clinical experience. At Darien Integrative Medicine in Darien, Connecticut, he combines his extensive experience in both conventional and alternative medicine to offer his patients uniquely safe and effective care.

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Safe Female Hormones? (updated)

In the 1980’s, millions of American women were being treated with “hormone replacement therapy” in order to reduce hot flashes and prevent a variety of illnesses.

William McK. Jefferies, MD (Video)

William McK. Jefferies, MD. was an award-winning endocrinology research fellow at Harvard University in the late 1940s when the adrenal hormone cortisol (hydrocortisone) was discovered.