Acromegaly is a chronic disease caused by excessive secretion of growth hormone. There a multiple symptoms of acromegaly, but some of the more specific are enlargement of the hands and feet; growth of the bones of the skull and jaw along with coarsening of facial features; increased soft tissue and cartilage growth leading to joint problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and snoring with obstructive sleep apnea.
Patients also may have glucose intolerance or actual diabetes and high blood pressure due to overproduction of GH.
Current medical therapies for acromegaly include:
- Somatostatin Analogues. These are medications which resemble the hormone somatostatin which is a natural inhibitor of GH secretion. These medications are able to normalize GH secretion in many patients as well as lead to significant tumor shrinkage. At this time, they are given as an injection.
- Dopamine Agonists. These are oral medications which bind to the dopamine receptor, which often is present of the surface of the cells of these tumors. These medications are able to decrease GH secretion and also can lead to tumor shrinkage in some patients