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Recovery pattern of hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular axis in patients with macroprolactinomas after treatment with cabergoline

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      Abstract

      Background & objectives:

      Hyperprolactinaemia affects testicular functions by influencing hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis at various levels. Available literature on the level of defect, time course of improvement of gonadal functions and its relation with decline in prolactin levels is scanty. We carried out this study to evaluate the HPT axis in patients with macroprolactinomas, before and six months after cabergoline therapy.

      Methods:

      Fifteen men with macroprolactinomas underwent gonadotropin and testosterone response to their respective stimuli before and after six months of cabergoline therapy.

      Results:

      Serum prolactin levels decreased after six months of therapy. Pretreatment, mean lutenizing and follicle stimulating hormones (LH and FSH) levels were 2.0 ± 0.4 and 1.4 ± 0.2 IU/l, respectively. However, LH and FSH responses to GnRH were preserved in majority of the patients and LH peaked to 12.1 ± 2.3 IU/l ( P<0.01), while FSH to 2.9 ± 0.4 IU/l suggesting the influence of hyperprolactinaemia at the level of hypothalamus with preserved gonadotrope reserve. After cabergoline therapy, there was an increase in basal as well as stimulated LH and FSH levels, though these were not statistically significant when compared to respective pretherapy levels. Basal testosterone (T) levels significantly improved after therapy, but peak T response to hCG was similar at both pre- and post treatment. A significant correlation was observed between peak LH and peak T at baseline (r=0.53, P<0.01) and it further strengthened after therapy (r=0.70, P<0.01). After cabergoline therapy, there was significant improvement in seminal volume, sperm count and motility and sperm count correlated with peak FSH response (r=0.53, P<0.05).

      Interpretation & conclusions:

      Hyperprolactinaemia affects testicular functions probably by influencing at the level of hypothalamus resulting in subnormal basal secretion of gonadotropins required for optimal testicular functions.

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      Most cited references 25

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      World Health Organization.

       Ala Alwan (2007)
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        A comparison of cabergoline and bromocriptine in the treatment of hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea. Cabergoline Comparative Study Group.

        Cabergoline is a long-acting dopamine-agonist drug that suppresses prolactin secretion and restores gonadal function in women with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea. We designed a study to compare its safety and efficacy with those of bromocriptine, which has been the standard therapy. A total of 459 women with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea were treated with either cabergoline (0.5 to 1.0 mg twice weekly) or bromocriptine (2.5 to 5.0 mg twice daily), administered in a double-blind fashion for 8 weeks and subsequently in an open fashion for 16 weeks, during which adjustments in the dose were made according to the response. Of the 459 women, 279 had microprolactinomas, 3 had macroprolactinomas, 1 had a craniopharyngioma, 167 had idiopathic hyperprolactinemia, and the remainder had an empty sella. Clinical and biochemical status was assessed at 2-week intervals for 8 weeks and monthly thereafter for a total of 6 months, with an additional assessment at 14 weeks. Stable normoprolactinemia was achieved in 186 of the 223 women treated with cabergoline (83 percent) and 138 of the 236 women treated with bromocriptine (59 percent, P < 0.001). Seventy-two percent of the women treated with cabergoline and 52 percent of those treated with bromocriptine had ovulatory cycles or became pregnant during treatment (P < 0.001). Amenorrhea persisted in 7 percent of the cabergoline-treated women and 16 percent of the bromocriptine-treated women. Adverse effects were recorded in 68 percent of the women taking cabergoline and 78 percent of those taking bromocriptine (P = 0.03); 3 percent discontinued taking cabergoline, and 12 percent stopped taking bromocriptine (P < 0.001) because of drug intolerance. Gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly less frequent, less severe, and shorter-lived in the women treated with cabergoline. Cabergoline is more effective and better tolerated than bromocriptine in women with hyperprolactinemic amenorrhea.
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          Cabergoline in the treatment of hyperprolactinemia: a study in 455 patients.

          Cabergoline is a new long-acting dopamine agonist that is very effective and well tolerated in patients with pathological hyperprolactinemia. The aim of this study was to examine, in a very large number of hyperprolactinemic patients, the ability to normalize PRL levels with cabergoline, to determine the effective dose and tolerance, and to assess the effect on clinical symptoms, tumor shrinkage, and visual field abnormalities. We also evaluated the effects of cabergoline in a large subgroup of patients with bromocriptine intolerance or -resistance. We retrospectively reviewed the files of 455 patients (102 males and 353 females) with pathological hyperprolactinemia treated with cabergoline in 9 Belgian centers. Among these patients, 41% had a microadenoma; 42%, a macroadenoma; 16%, idiopathic hyperprolactinemia; and 1%, an empty sella. The median pretreatment serum PRL level was 124 microg/L (range, 16-26,250 microg/L). A subgroup of 292 patients had previously been treated with bromocriptine, of which 140 showed bromocriptine intolerance and 58 showed bromocriptine resistance. Treatment with cabergoline normalized serum PRL levels in 86% of all patients: in 92% of 244 patients with idiopathic hyperprolactinemia or a microprolactinoma and in 77% of 181 macroadenomas. Pretreatment visual field abnormalities normalized in 70% of patients, and tumor shrinkage was seen in 67% of cases. Side effects were noted in 13% of patients, but only 3.9% discontinued therapy because of side effects. The median dose of cabergoline at the start of therapy was 1.0 mg/week but could be reduced to 0.5 mg/week once control was achieved. Patients with a macroprolactinoma needed a higher median cabergoline dose, compared with those with idiopathic hyperprolactinemia or a microprolactinoma: 1.0 mg/week vs. 0.5 mg/week, although a large overlap existed between these groups. Twenty-seven women treated with cabergoline became pregnant, and 25 delivered a healthy child. One patient had an intended abortion and another a miscarriage. In the patients with bromocriptine intolerance, normalization of PRL was reached in 84% of cases, whereas in the bromocriptine-resistant patients, PRL could be normalized in 70%. We confirmed, in a large-scale retrospective study, the high efficacy and tolerability of cabergoline in the treatment of pathological hyperprolactinemia, leaving few patients with unacceptable side effects or inadequate clinical response. Patients with idiopathic hyperprolactinemia or a microprolactinoma, on average, needed only half the dose of cabergoline as those with macroprolactinomas and have a higher chance of obtaining PRL normalization. Cabergoline also normalized PRL in the majority of patients with known bromocriptine intolerance or -resistance. Once PRL secretion was adequately controlled, the dose of cabergoline could often be significantly decreased, which further reduced costs of therapy.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Endocrinology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India
            [* ] Department of Radiodiagnosis, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India
            Author notes
            Reprint requests: Dr Anil Bhansali, Professor & Head, Department of Endocrinology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh 160 012, India anilbhansali_endocrine@ 123456rediffmail.com
            Journal
            Indian J Med Res
            IJMR
            The Indian Journal of Medical Research
            Medknow Publications (India )
            0971-5916
            September 2011
            : 134
            : 3
            : 314-319
            3193712
            21985814
            IJMR-134-314
            Copyright: © The Indian Journal of Medical Research

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Original Article

            Medicine

            macroprolactinomas, testis, pituitary, hypothalamus, hypogonadism

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