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Cushing's Syndrome Treatment

Radiotherapy
In the case of patients for whom transsphenoidal surgery is unsuccessful or who are not suitable candidates for surgery, radiotherapy is another possible treatment. Radiation to the pituitary gland is given over a six-week period, with improvement occurring in 40 to 50 percent of adults and in up to 80 percent of children; however, it may take several months or years before patients feel better from radiation treatment alone.
 
Mitotane
The combination of radiation therapy and the drug mitotane (Lysodren®) can help speed recovery. Mitotane suppresses cortisol production and lowers plasma and urine hormone levels. Treatment with mitotane alone can be successful in 30 to 40 percent of patients.
 
Other Medicines
Other drugs used alone or in combination to help control the production of excess cortisol are aminoglutethimide, metyrapone, trilostane, and ketoconazole. Each has its own side effects that doctors consider when prescribing therapy for individual patients.
 

Adrenal Tumors and Cushing's Syndrome Treatment

Surgery is the main Cushing's syndrome treatment option for benign as well as cancerous tumors of the adrenal glands. In primary pigmented micronodular adrenal disease and inherited forms of Carney complex (an ACTH-related condition), surgical removal of the adrenal glands is required.
 

Ectopic ACTH Syndrome and Treatment of Cushing's Syndrome

To cure the overproduction of cortisol caused by ectopic ACTH syndrome, it is necessary to eliminate all of the cancerous tissue that is secreting ACTH. The cancer treatment choices include:
 
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • A combination of these treatments.
     
The treatment choice depends on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Since ACTH-secreting tumors (for example, small cell lung cancer) may be very small or widespread at the time of diagnosis, cortisol-inhibiting drugs, like mitotane, are an important part of treatment. In some cases, if pituitary surgery is not successful, surgical removal of the adrenal glands (bilateral adrenalectomy) may take the place of drug therapy.
 
Healthy Eating for People With Diabetes

Cushing's Syndrome Information

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