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It is possible that the main title of the report Prolactinoma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • amenorrhea-galactorrhea, nonpuerperal
  • Forbes-Albright syndrome
  • galactorrhea-amenorrhea syndrome
  • nonpuerperal galactorrhea

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

A prolactinoma is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland (adenoma) that produces an excessive amount of the hormone prolactin. In women, hyperprolactinemia is characterized by irregular menstrual periods (amenorrhea), infertility and production of breast milk in women who are not pregnant (galactorrhea). The most common symptom in men is impotence.


Many of the symptoms of prolactinoma are caused by an excessive amount of prolactin in the blood (hyperprolactinemia). In women, prolactinoma is characterized by irregular menstrual periods (amenorrhea), infertility and production of breast milk in women who are not pregnant (galactorrhea). Some women experience diminished sexual desire or painful intercourse. The most common symptom in men is impotence.

Some symptoms such as headaches and vision abnormalities are caused by pressure from the pituitary tumor on other tissues and the optic chiasm.


The cause of pituitary tumors is unknown. Most pituitary tumors are sporadic and not associated with genetic factors that are inherited or can be passed on to children.

Affected Populations

Pituitary tumors that produce enough prolactin to affect health occur in approximately 14 out of 100,000 people.

Standard Therapies

Prolactinoma is treated with medications that act like dopamine (dopamine agonists) such as bromocriptine and cabergoline because dopamine inhibits prolactin secretion. These medications reduce the size of the tumor and reduce the amount of prolactin secretion in approximately 80% of patients. Surgery may be recommended if medical therapy is not effective. Pituitary tumors recur after surgery in some affected individuals.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at All studies receiving U.S. Government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010


For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:



Schlechte JA. Long-term management of prolactinomas. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(8):2861-5.

Valdemarsson S. Macroprolactinemia. Risk of misdiagnosis and mismanagement in hyperprolactinemia. Lakartidningen. 2004;101(6):458-65.

Serri O, Chik CL, Ur E, Ezzat S. Diagnosis and management of hyperprolactinemia. CMAJ. 2003;169(6):575-81.

Biller BM, Luciano A, Crosignani PG, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of hyperprolactinemia. J Reprod Med. 1999;44(12 Suppl):1075-84.

Conner P, Fried G. Hyperprolactinemia; etiology, diagnosis and treatment alternatives. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1998;77(3):249-62.

Davies PH. Drug-related hyperprolactinaemia. Adverse Drug React Toxicol Rev. 1997;16(2):83-94.

Blackwell RE. Hyperprolactinemia. Evaluation and management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1992;21(1):105-24.


Prolactinoma. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Updated May 2009. Accessed March 27, 2012.


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Pituitary Foundation

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