OBJECTIVE: Acromegaly is a syndrome with a high risk of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and diabetes mellitus (DM). Somatostatin analogues, which are used for medical treatment of acromegaly, may exert different hormonal effects on glucose homeostasis. Twenty-four active acromegalic patients were studied in order to determine the long-term effects of octreotide-LAR and SR-lanreotide on insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism. DESIGN: Prospective study. PATIENTS: We studied 24 patients with active acromegaly, 11 males and 13 females, aged 50.7 ± 12.7 years, body mass index (BMI) 30.1 ± 4.8 (kg/m2). MEASUREMENTS: All patients underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and 12 also had an euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp. All patients were evaluated at baseline and after 6 months of somatostatin analogues therapy. RESULTS: Acromegalic patients showed low M-values in respect to the control group at baseline (P <0.05), followed by a significant improvement after 6 months of therapy (P <0.005 vs. baseline). Serum glucose levels at 120 min during OGTT worsened (P <0.05) during somatostatin analogs therapy in patients with normal glucose tolerance, but not in those with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus. This was associated with a reduced (P <0.05) and 30 min delayed insulin secretion during OGTT. Also, HbA1c significantly deteriorated in all subjects after treatment (4.7 ± 0.6% and 5.1 ± 0.5%, basal and after six months, respectively, P <0.005). CONCLUSION: In acromegalic patients, somatostatin analogues treatment reduces insulin resistance, and also impairs insulin secretion. This may suggest that the use of oral secretagogue hypoglycaemic agents and/or insulin therapy should be considered rather than insulin sensitizers, as the treatment of choice in acromegalic patients who develop frank hyperglycaemia during somatostatin analogues therapy.
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