Treatment for acromegaly is based on your age and overall health. The goals of treatment are to:
- bring GH production levels back to normal
- relieve pressure around any growing pituitary tumors
- maintain normal pituitary function
- treat any hormone deficiencies and improve the symptoms of acromegaly
Several types of treatments may be needed.
Surgery to remove the tumor causing excess GH is the first option doctors usually recommend to people with acromegaly. Usually, this treatment is quick and effective in reducing GH levels, which can improve symptoms. One possible complication is damage to the pituitary tissues that surrounded the tumor. If this happens, it can mean you’ll need to start a lifelong pituitary hormone replacement treatment. Rare but serious complications include cerebrospinal fluid leaks and meningitis.
Medication is another treatment option that’s often used if surgery isn’t successful in reducing GH levels, and it can also be used to shrink large tumors before surgery. These types of medications are used to regulate or block GH production:
- somatostatin analogs
- GH receptor antagonists
- dopamine agonists
Radiation may be used to destroy large tumors or sections of tumor left after surgery or when medications alone aren’t effective. Radiation can slowly help to lower GH levels when used along with medication. A dramatic decrease in GH levels using this type of treatment may take several years, with radiation administered in multiple four- to six-week sessions. Radiation can impair your fertility. In rare cases, it can lead to vision loss, brain injury, or secondary tumors.