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MINERVA PEDIATRICA

A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
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Minerva Pediatrica 2002 December;54(6):547-52

language: Italian

Hyperprolactinemia: from diagnosis to treatment

Rosato F., Garofalo P.


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Hyperprolactinemia means the presence of abnormally high values of prolactin. It's the most common clinical hypothalamic-hypophysis disorder. Amenorrhea and anovulation are the most usual clinical findings but we can find milder alterations of gonadal function as oligomenorrhea or luteal phase alterations. Galattorrhea appears in approx 30% of patients, but its presence in women with ovulation disorders is highly suggestive of hyperprolactinemia. Subjects with primary amenorrhea and delayed puberty can present hyperprolactinemia. Male hyperprolactinemia can cause hypogonadism (decreased testosterone levels), libido decrease, infertility due oligospermia and gynecomastia while galactorrhea rarely occurs. Accurate anamnesis is very important for a correct diagnosis. It's necessary to exclude pregnancy and primary hypothyroidism. The use of many drugs can be associated with hyperprolactinemia but the most common causes are idiopathic hyperprolactinemia and hypophysis secreting adenoma. Diagnostic examinations are: PRL, FT3, FT4, TSH in case of hypothyroidism, testosterone in men, eventually sampling GH, IGF, ACTH, cortisol, free urinary cortisol. Dynamic tests are used just for idiopathic hyperprolactinemia, but today their meaning is widely discussed. CAT and MNR are necessary to observe hypotalamus, hypophysis and optic chiasm. Twenty years ago the sole option for prolactinoma patients was adenomectomy, today idiopathic hyperprolactinemia can be treated with drugs, while prolactinoma can be treated with a pharmacological, surgical or radiological therapy.

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