SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

OBJECTIVES:

Studies of the dopamine agonist cabergoline in the treatment of hyperprolactinaemia have shown it to be a potent, long-acting and well-tolerated. The older dopamine agonist, bromocriptine, has traditionally had a place in the medical management of acromegaly, but poor patient tolerance of the high doses required, the need for multiple daily administration and incomplete biochemical responses have limited its role. We therefore sought to investigate the effect of cabergoline on growth hormone (GH) secretion in acromegaly and to define the most appropriate dose for suppression of GH

DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS:

Patients with active acromegaly (defined as most recent random GH > 5mU/l) were identified from the departmental clinical information system. After informed consent was obtained, basal GH levels were estimated during a 5 point day curve at least 2 months after withdrawal of any existing medical therapy for acromegaly. The cabergoline dose was escalated on a monthly basis for 4 months with a repeat 5 point GH day curve at the highest dose, and 0900 and 0930 GH estimations at the intermediate dose increment stages. Serum IGF-1 and prolactin were estimated on each occasion. Biochemical remission was defined as serum GH < 5mU/l.

PATIENTS:

Eleven acromegalics were investigated. Previous treatment included surgery (7), radiotherapy (5) and bromocriptine (5). Three patients had not received any previous treatment. All had random GH persistently > 5mU/l prior to the study.

RESULTS:

Ten patients completed the study. Of these, 7 showed a fall in the GH to ≤33% and IGF-1 to ≤67% of the basal value but only 2 achieved biochemical remission. All subjects showed maximum GH response at a dose of 0.5 mg daily of cabergoline. Four patients were unable to tolerate the maximum dose of 1 mg daily (nausea in one and non-specific symptoms in three). The patient excluded from the analysis discontinued cabergoline and underwent surgery after 1 month because of worsening visual field defects.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cabergoline may be a useful adjunct to the currently available treatment for acromegaly, but rarely achieves the goal of mean GH < 5mU/l. The maximum suppression of GH is achieved within the dose range 1 mg twice weekly to 0.5 mg daily.