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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2010 June;35(2):53-9

language: English

Verapamil stimulation test in hyperprolactinemia: loss of prolactin response in anatomic or functional stalk effect

Dagdelen S., Usman A.

Hacettepe University, School of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ankara, Turkey


AIM: Verapamil stimulation test was previously investigated as a tool for differential diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia, but with conflicting results. Macroprolactinemia was never considered in those previous studies. Here, we aimed to re-investigate the diagnostic value of verapamil in a population who were all screened for macroprolactinemia. Prolactin responses to verapamil in 65 female patients (age: 29.9 ± 8.1 years) with hyperprolactinemia were tested in a descriptive, matched case-control study.
METHODS: Verapamil 80 mg, p.o. was administered, and then PRL levels were measured at 8th and 16th hours, by immunometric chemiluminescence. Verapamil responsiveness was determined by peak percent change in basal prolactin levels (∆PRL).
RESULTS: Verapamil significantly increased PRL levels in healthy controls (N. 8, ∆PRL: 183%), macroprolactinoma (N. 8, ∆PRL: 7%), microprolactinoma (N. 19, ∆PRL: 21%), macroprolactinemia (N. 23, ∆PRL: 126%), but not in pseudoprolactinoma (N. 8, ∆PRL: 0.8%), and risperidone-induced hyperprolactinemia (N. 7, ∆PRL: 3%). ROC curve analysis revealed that unresponsiveness to verapamil defined as ∆PRL <7%, discriminated anatomical or functional stalk effect (sensitivity: 74%, specificity: 73%, AUC: 0.855±0.04, P <0.001, CI: 0.768-0.942) associated with pseudoprolactinoma or risperidone-induced hyperprolactinemia, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Verapamil responsiveness is not a reliable finding for the differential diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia. However, verapamil unresponsiveness discriminates stalk effect (i.e., anatomically or functionally inhibited dopa-minergic tonus) from other causes of hyperprolactinemia with varying degrees of responsiveness.

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