Update on the withdrawal of dopamine agonists in patients with hyperprolactinemia

Alberto M Pereira
Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity 2011, 18 (4): 264-8

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite the widespread use of dopamine agonists for patients with prolactinomas and symptomatic idiopathic hyperprolactinemia for many decades, the optimal treatment strategy and duration of treatment is still not evident. This review highlights the effects of dopamine agonist withdrawal in patients with idiopathic hyperprolactinemia and prolactinomas in detail, including the factors influencing the success of treatment outcome.

RECENT FINDINGS: It appeared that a subgroup of patients with a high likelihood of achieving remission could be identified on clinical criteria, which were incorporated in the Pituitary Society 2006 consensus guidelines. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis, however, demonstrated that the pooled proportion of patients with persisting normoprolactinemia after dopamine agonist withdrawal was only 21%, with a higher treatment success in idiopathic hyperprolactinemia (32%), compared with both microprolactinomas (21%) and macroprolactinomas (16%). In a random effects meta-regression, longer treatment duration was associated with treatment success. The probability of treatment success was highest when cabergoline was used for at least 2 years. Recommendations have now been adjusted accordingly in the 2011 Endocrine Society Practical guideline.

SUMMARY: Hyperprolactinemia will recur after dopamine agonist withdrawal in a considerable proportion of patients, but not all dopamine agonists have comparable efficacy. The optimal withdrawal strategy still needs to be determined in further studies.

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