Cabergoline in acromegaly.
Acromegaly, a rare disease due to growth hormone (GH) hypersecretion by a pituitary adenoma, is associated with severe comorbidity and premature death if not adequately treated. The usual first-line treatment is surgery. Various drugs, including somatostatin receptor ligands, dopamine agonists and GH receptor antagonists, are now available for use if surgery fails to suppress GH/IGF-I hypersecretion. Cabergoline, now the preferred dopamine agonist for treating hyperprolactinemia, is also used off-label for treating acromegaly. Cabergoline monotherapy is reported to normalize IGF-I levels in more than one-third of patients with acromegaly. When a somatostatin receptor ligand proves ineffective, cabergoline add-on therapy normalizes the IGF-I level in 40-50% of patients. Finally, when combined with the GH receptor antagonist pegvisomant in patients with mild uncontrolled disease, cabergoline helps to achieve normal IGF-I levels while avoiding the need for high-dose pegvisomant. Cabergoline is also inexpensive and well tolerated; in particular, it does not appear to promote heart valve disease.
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