How is acromegaly treated?

There are several treatment options for acromegaly. Your doctor will consider your symptoms and circumstances before deciding which treatment(s) are right for you.

The most common treatments for acromegaly are surgery, medication and radiation therapy:

  • Surgery: In many cases, surgery greatly improves acromegaly symptoms or corrects the condition entirely. The specifics of the surgery will depend on the size and location of a tumor. The goal of surgery is to remove all of a tumor that is causing excess growth hormone production. If doctors remove enough of the tumor, you may not need further treatment. If doctors can remove only a part of a tumor, you may need medication or radiation therapy to manage your symptoms and reduce the production of growth hormone.
  • Medication: Injection medications such as somatostatin analogs (Sandostatin®) can help manage hormone levels. Medications work in different ways to normalize the body’s growth hormone levels and improve your symptoms.

In some cases, a person may take medication until a tumor has shrunk. This can allow doctors to safely remove it with surgery. Other people may need to take medication long-term to effectively manage growth hormone levels and symptoms.

  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can help lower growth hormone levels when medications aren’t effective. Radiation therapy uses specialized equipment to target the tumor with radiation beams. This therapy works slowly. It may require several treatment courses, with breaks in between, and may take several years for full effect.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/16/2018.

References

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Acromegaly. Accessed 4/2/2018.
  • The Pituitary Society. Acromegaly. Accessed 4/2/2018.
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Acromegaly. Accessed 4/2/2018.

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