Current pharmacotherapy for acromegaly: a review

Nienke R. Biermasz, Johannes A. Romijn, Alberto M. Pereira, Ferdinand Roelfsema

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Acromegaly is associated with considerable morbidity and excess mortality; however, after effective treatment, both morbidity and mortality risks improve. Growth hormone excess in acromegaly can be controlled in many patients by pharmacotherapy alone, and with a combination of transsphenoidal surgery and pharmacotherapy in almost all patients. Since the clinical introduction of pegvisomant, a growth hormone-receptor antagonist, the role of radiotherapy is restricted. This review focuses on the treatment options for acromegaly (e.g., surgery, radiotherapy and pharmacotherapy with the depot preparations of the somatostatin analogues octreotide long-acting release formulation, lanreotide slow-release formulation and lanreotide Autogel, the growth hormone antagonist pegvisomant and the dopamine agonist cabergoline). Pharmacological characteristics of these drugs and the clinical and adverse effects are discussed individually and in relation to the other treatment modalities. The evidence for biochemical goals aimed at during medical treatment and the costs of pharmacotherapy are discussed. A new treatment algorithm is proposed, in which the choice between primary medical treatment and primary surgery is individualised, dependent on adenoma size and extension, patient factors (age, preference for therapy, contraindication for surgery), surgical experience of the centre and octreotide sensitivity of the adenoma. The high cost of lifelong medical treatment, especially of pegvisomant, must be weighed against the cost of a single surgical procedure
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2393-2405
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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