Medications for Pituitary Tumors

Pituitary tumor medications are one of the most common treatments for pituitary tumors.

Although the type of treatment you receive typically depends on what type of tumor you have—including the size and shape of it—certain medications may be effective on their own in treating your tumor.

These medications work to return your hormone levels to normal and shrink the size of your tumor. This is important because if your tumor is too large (more than 10 mm), it can put pressure on your optic nerve, potentially leading to blindness.

Bromocriptine and Cabergoline for Pituitary Tumors
Bromocriptine (brand names: Parlodel and Cycloset) and cabergoline (brand names: Dostinex and Cabaser) treat prolactin-secreting tumors, which are called prolactinomas. These medications work to reduce your prolactin levels and can shrink your tumor. In most cases, these drugs are so useful that surgery isn't needed.

Octreotide, Lanreotide, and Pegvisomant for Pituitary Tumors
Usually used to treat growth hormone-secreting tumors, octreotide (brand names: Sandostatin LAR), lanreotide (brand name: Somatuline), and pegvisomant (brand name: Somavert) can reduce the size of your pituitary tumor by decreasing growth hormone production (octreotide and lanreotide) or blocking its action (pegvisomant). If surgery doesn't normalize the production of growth hormone, these drugs can help do that or at least block its activity.

Medications can be extremely useful in treating pituitary tumors, but sometimes they're not enough to shrink your tumor or regulate your hormone production. That's why there are other treatment options for pituitary tumors: radiation therapy and surgery.

View Sources

Sources

  • Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. Volume II. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010.
  • Pituitary tumor page. MedlinePlus Web site. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000704.htm. November 15, 2010. Accessed November 30, 2010.
  • Pituitary tumors page. Mayo Clinic Web site. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pituitary-tumors/DS00533. June 5, 2010. Accessed November 30, 2010.