Clinical and diagnostic characteristics of hyperprolactinemia in childhood and adolescence
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Pituitary adenoma is the most common cause of hyperprolactinemia, which is a rare endocrine disorder encountered in pediatric patient care. Epidemiological and clinical information about hyperprolactinemia in childhood and adolescence is limited. Clinical signs of hyperprolactinemia are very heterogeneous. In girls, disturbances in menstrual function and galactorrhea may be seen, whereas in boys, headache, visual disturbances, delayed pubertal development and hypogonadism are often present. Owing to the ease of ordering a serum prolactin measurement, an evidence-based, cost-effective approach to the management of this endocrine disorder is required. Before a diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia is made, drug use, renal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and parasellar tumors should be excluded. The main objectives of treatment are normalization of prolactin level, adenoma shrinkage, and recovery from clinical signs related to hyperprolactinemia. In patients with microadenoma, invasive or non-invasive macroadenoma, and even in patients with visual field defects, dopamine agonists are the first-line treatment. Surgical treatment is indicated in patients who are unresponsive or intolerant to medical treatment or who have persistent neurological signs. Radio therapy should be considered as a supportive treatment for patients in whom surgery fails or medical response is not achieved.