Understanding Acromegaly Medications (cont.)
Medical Treatment of Acromegaly
Treatment consists of surgery, medications, and, sometimes, radiation. Lifestyle changes to avoid further risks of developing associated complications, such as heart disease, vascular disease, stroke, lung disorders, and/or cancers, should also be part of therapy. Lifestyle changes may include smoking cessation, low-fat diets, and exercise.
- How GH inhibitors work: These drugs decrease the effect of excessive growth hormone (GH) by blocking GH from binding to cell receptors.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals allergic to GH inhibitors should not take them.
- Use: Pegvisomant is self-administered by daily subcutaneous (shallow injection under the skin) injections.
- Drug or food interactions: Pegvisomant may decrease insulin or oral antidiabetic drug effects. Individuals who take narcotic analgesics, such as morphine or codeine, may require higher doses of pegvisomant.
- Side effects: The drug container top contains latex. Pegvisomant may cause certain GH-secreting tumors to grow more readily. Additionally, this drug may induce GH deficiency and/or increase liver enzyme levels. GH levels must be monitored to help guide dose adjustments. Liver enzyme levels must also be monitored.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2015
Arthur B Chausmer, MD, PhD, FACP, FACE, FACN, CNS
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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