Acromegaly: A complex hormonal disorder

Acromegaly is a rare disorder caused by a benign (noncancerous) tumor of the pituitary gland, called an adenoma, causing too much growth hormone, or GH, to be released into the bloodstream. As GH travels throughout the body, it tells the body to make more of another hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

Normally, IGF-1 works with GH to help control growth of many tissues in the body. With too much IGF-1 and GH, the body can undergo abnormal growth of bones, cartilage, and other body tissues. While the more outward signs are enlarging hands, feet and face, more serious problems may also develop.

This illustration shows the position of the pituitary gland in a human brain.  Acromegaly is a rare disorder caused by a benign tumor of the pituitary gland, called an adenoma, causing excessive growth hormone.

Pituitary gland

Your pituitary produces important hormones that control your body's growth and development, reproduction, and metabolism

Recognizing the potential signs of acromegaly

Although acromegaly causes a variety of symptoms, they can be difficult for doctors to recognize as being related to acromegaly. The physical changes associated with acromegaly tend to happen slowly and can often go unnoticed, even by family members.

Diagnosing acromegaly

The first steps a doctor typically takes toward diagnosing acromegaly are to record your complete medical history and conduct a thorough physical exam.

Based on the findings of your medical history and exam, your doctor may then recommend:

  • Blood tests to measure your GH and IGF-1 levels

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to locate the pituitary tumor and determine its size

Because acromegaly is often difficult to diagnose, some patients may suffer with acromegaly for years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, once acromegaly has been identified, there are treatment options available. You should also know that you’re not alone—there are patient organizations where people with acromegaly share the latest information, support, and friendship. They’re in the “Support” section of this site.

Options for treating acromegaly

Surgically removing or reducing the pituitary tumor

In many cases, surgical treatment is the first option recommended for patients with acromegaly. While the idea of surgery can be frightening, removing or reducing the size of the pituitary tumor can be an important step toward managing the disease.

However, depending on the size and location of the tumor, its complete or partial removal isn’t always possible. For patients who cannot have surgery—and even for many patients who do—other treatment is often needed.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is sometimes used when tumor cells remain after surgery or if the tumor extends beyond the pituitary. Radiation therapy destroys the remaining tumor cells and slowly reduces GH levels.

Managing acromegaly with medication

Many patients with acromegaly—including some who have had surgery and/or radiotherapy—need to take medication throughout their lives in order to control their GH and IGF-1 levels. Currently, there are 3 types of medications commonly used for treating acromegaly. Patients respond differently to each medication, and the side effects they experience may also vary. It’s important to discuss your medication options and potential side effects of each medication with your doctor before beginning any treatment.

  • Somatostatin analog (SSA)

  • Growth hormone receptor antagonist (GHRA)

  • Dopamine agonist (DA)

LEARN MORE ABOUT SOMATULINE DEPOT

Important Safety Information and Indication

Who should not take Somatuline Depot?Do not take Somatuline Depot if you are allergic to lanreotide.

What are the possible side effects of Somatuline Depot?

Somatuline Depot may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Gallstones.Tell your healthcare professional if you get any of these symptoms:
    • sudden pain in your upper right stomach area (abdomen)
    • sudden pain in your right shoulder or between your shoulder blades
    • yellowing of your skin and whites of your eyes
    • fever with chills
    • nausea
  • Changes in your blood sugar (high blood sugar or low blood sugar). If you have diabetes, test your blood sugar as your healthcare professional tells you to. Your healthcare professional may change your dose of diabetes medicine
  • Slow heart rate
  • High blood pressure

The most common side effects of Somatuline Depot in people with acromegaly include diarrhea, stomach area (abdominal) pain, nausea, and pain, itching, or a lump at the injection site.

Somatuline Depot may cause dizziness. If this happens, do not drive a car or operate machinery.

What should I tell my healthcare professional before receiving Somatuline Depot?

  • Tell your healthcare professional if you have diabetes or gallbladder, thyroid, heart, kidney, or liver problems
  • Tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant as Somatuline Depot may harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare professional if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Somatuline Depot passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare professional should decide if you will take Somatuline Depot or breastfeed. You should not do both
  • Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Somatuline Depot and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Somatuline Depot may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how Somatuline Depot works
  • Especially tell your healthcare professional if you take insulin or other diabetes medicines, a cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, or Sandimmune), a medicine called bromocriptine (Parlodel, Cycloset), or medicines that lower your heart rate, such as beta blockers

Tell your healthcare professional if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of Somatuline Depot. For more information ask your healthcare professional.

What is Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide) Injection?

Somatuline Depot is a prescription medicine used for the long-term treatment of acromegaly when surgery or radiotherapy has not worked well enough or the patient is not able to have surgery or radiotherapy.

It is not known if Somatuline Depot is safe and effective in children.

You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., at 1-888-980-2889.

Click here for Patient Information and Full Prescribing Information.

Somatuline Depot is available in 60, 90, and 120 mg

Indication

What is Somatuline® Depot (lanreotide) Injection?

Somatuline Depot is a prescription medicine used for the long-term treatment of acromegaly when surgery or radiotherapy has not worked well enough or the patient is not able to have surgery or radiotherapy.

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This is an illustration of Somatuline Depot injection. It explains how the injection is administered for acromegaly patients.

Device not shown at actual size

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