Pharmacotherapy or surgery as primary treatment for acromegaly?

Diego Ferone, Annamaria Colao, Art Jan Van Der Lely, Steven W J Lamberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years important progress has been made in the management of acromegaly due to the availability of effective and well tolerated drugs and to improved surgical techniques, resulting in a broader choice of therapeutic interventions. Although surgery in the hands of an experienced surgeon still represents the primary option for the majority of patients, the new formulations of somatostatin analogues and dopamine agonists have partially modified the primary therapeutic approach to this severe and disabling chronic disease. Therapy with somatostatin analogues has been shown to reduce morbidity and the mortality rate in patients with acromegaly, and currently in some patients this medical approach may be preferable to surgery. Although in selected patients individualised pharmacotherapy might represent the primary therapy, transsphenoidal surgery of microadenomas and noninvasive macroadenomas remains the primary option, since the remission rate is very high and the costs are relatively low in comparison with lifelong therapy with somatostatin analogues. However, the treatment schedule in acromegaly should consider criteria additional to tumour size and invasiveness, such as the age and the general clinical condition of the patient. Presurgical treatment with somatostatin analogues has been reported to reduce surgical complications and time of hospitalisation after the operation. Moreover, a multidisciplinary team of well trained specialists is needed in order to guarantee the most optimal quality of life and life expectancy for patients with acromegaly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalDrugs and Aging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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