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.

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 size of 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)

Want to find out more about Somatuline Depot?

Learn more


Do not take SOMATULINE DEPOT  if you are allergic to lanreotide.

SOMATULINE DEPOT may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Gallstones
  • Changes to your blood sugar (high or low blood sugar),
  • Slow heart rate,
  • High blood pressure, and
  • Changes in thyroid function in acromegaly patients.

Tell your healthcare provider (HCP) if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms of gallstones may include 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, and nausea.
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar may include increased thirst, increased appetite, nausea, weakness or tiredness, urinating more than normal, and fruity smelling breath.
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar may include dizziness or lightheadedness, sweating, confusion, headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, shakiness, fast heartbeat, irritability or mood changes, and hunger.
  • Symptoms of slow heart rate may include dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting or near-fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion or memory problems, and weakness or extreme tiredness.
  • SOMATULINE DEPOT can cause the thyroid gland to not make enough thyroid hormone in people with acromegaly. Symptoms of low thyroid levels may include fatigue, weight gain, puffy face, being cold all the time, constipation, dry skin, thinning or dry hair, decreased sweating, and depression.

The most common side effects of SOMATULINE DEPOT in people with acromegaly include diarrhea; stomach (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.

Tell your HCP right away if you have signs of an allergic reaction after receiving SOMATULINE DEPOT, including swelling of your face, lips or tongue; breathing problems; fainting, dizziness or feeling lightheaded (low blood pressure); itching; skin flushing or redness; rash; or hives.

Before taking SOMATULINE DEPOT, tell your HCP about all your medical conditions including if you:
have diabetes; have gallbladder, heart, thyroid, kidney or liver problems; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant; or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if SOMATULINE DEPOT will harm your unborn baby or pass into breast milk. You should not breastfeed if you receive SOMATULINE DEPOT and for 6 months after your last dose. SOMATULINE DEPOT may affect your ability to become pregnant.

Tell your HCP 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. Your dose of SOMATULINE DEPOT or your other medications may need to be changed. If you have diabetes, your HCP may change your dose of diabetes medication when you first start receiving SOMATULINE DEPOT or if your dose of SOMATULINE DEPOT is changed.

Especially tell your HCP if you take:

  • Insulin or other diabetes medicines,
  • A cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, or Sandimmune), or
  • Medicines that lower your heart rate, such as beta blockers.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your HCP when you get a new medicine.

Tell your HCP 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 HCP.

What is SOMATULINE® DEPOT (lanreotide) Injection?

SOMATULINE DEPOT is a prescription medicine used in adults for the long-term treatment of people with acromegaly when surgery or radiotherapy have not worked well enough or a patient is unable to have surgery or radiotherapy.

It is not known if SOMATULINE DEPOT is safe and effective in children.

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. at 1-855-463-5127 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Please click here for the full Prescribing Information and Patient Information.

©2019 Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved. March 2019 SMD-US-002664