Pituitary Hormone Replacement Therapy
What is pituitary hormone replacement therapy?
Why would a doctor recommend pituitary hormone replacement therapy?
What does pituitary hormone replacement therapy involve?
What are the side effects of pituitary hormone replacement therapy?
The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, controls the production of hormones in all endocrine glands. In pituitary hormone replacement therapy, a patient takes hormones to replace the hormones not being produced by the pituitary gland. Such hormones include adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), sex hormones, prolactin, and growth hormone.
Hypopituitarism is a condition in which the pituitary gland is not producing one or more of its hormones, or is producing them at lower than normal levels. Generally, these hormones stimulate other endocrine glands to produce their hormones. For example, if the pituitary gland doesn't make thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), the thyroid gland doesn't work correctly.
Because some hormones are necessary for survival, they must be replaced with medications.
The medications taken depend on the hormones that need to be replaced.
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the adrenal glands to produce steroids such as cortisol. Hydrocortisone or prednisone replaces cortisol. These medications are taken in tablet form, usually two or three times a day.
- Thyroxine replaces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). It is usually taken as a tablet, once a day.
- Estrogen and/or progesterone replace missing female sex hormones. These hormones are found in birth control pills.
- Testosterone replaces missing male sex hormones. It can be given in several different forms, including injections, transdermal systems (patches), and gels.
- Demopressin replaces anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which controls the body's water balance. It is given as nasal spray or tablets.
- Synthetic growth hormones replace growth hormone. It is normally given as a daily injection, often before going to bed.
Your doctor will discuss with you the specifics of your medication.
Your doctor will discuss with you the specifics of your medication, including any possible side effects.
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