Medication (drug therapy) is very effective for treating some hormone-producing pituitary tumors. The medication can stop a tumor from producing excess hormones or shrink it so it does not press on the pituitary gland or other parts of the nervous system.
Medications (drug therapy) commonly used to treat pituitary tumors:
If medications are necessary to treat a pituitary tumor or to help control hormones after surgery or radiation therapy, or to substitute any missing hormones, the patient will take these at home. Medicines used to treat pituitary tumors include:
- Bromocriptine and cabergoline for pituitary adenomas called prolactinomas, which produce too much of the hormone prolactin. These medications can treat prolactinomas by decreasing prolactin secretion and often shrink the tumor.
- Somatostatin analogs (for example, Lanreotide®, Octreotide®) for pituitary adenomas that produce excess growth hormone. Somatostatin analog drugs decrease growth hormone production and may decrease the size of the tumor. These medications can also be used to treat pituitary adenomas that produce excess thyroid hormone. Pegvisomant (Somavert®) blocks the effect of excess growth hormone on the body.
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral®) for pituitary tumors that cause a round face, hump between the shoulders or other symptoms of the body producing too much cortisol, a natural steroid hormone. This medication decreases cortisol secretion but does not shrink the tumor or stop hormone production.
If a pituitary tumor has decreased the body’s ability to produce the necessary hormones, or if hormone production is too low after surgery, the patient may need to take hormone replacement therapy.