Real-world comorbidities and treatment patterns of patients with acromegaly in two large US health plan databases

Pituitary. 2013 Sep;16(3):354-62. doi: 10.1007/s11102-012-0432-6.


Acromegaly is a rare, chronic, and debilitating disease that results from excessive growth hormone production. Clinically, this disease is associated with enlargement of soft tissue, excessive skeletal growth, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Acromegaly is often diagnosed late, when a wide range of comorbidities may already be present. First-line therapy for acromegaly is typically surgery; but a number of highly-specific pharmacological agents have recently enabled a more aggressive medical management of acromegaly. Since surgical cure of acromegaly is low for macroadenomas, medical control of active acromegaly is an important component of treatment. There are no published US data currently available regarding real-world rates of comorbidities and treatment patterns among patients with acromegaly. This retrospective study examined the comorbidities and treatment patterns of 949 health plan enrollees, who had acromegaly diagnosis and/or procedure codes in an administrative claims database from July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2010. Acromegaly was associated with high rates of hypertension and diabetes along with a number of other comorbidities. The incidence of comorbidities was highest among patients with acromegaly-related treatment, which may have resulted, in part, from inadequate disease management and/or poor disease control. Unexpectedly, 55% of patients identified with acromegaly received no treatment for acromegaly (i.e., surgery, radiotherapy, and medication) and only 28% received a medication treatment during the observation period. However, some patients may have received a curative surgery prior to the observation period, which may have reduced the use of other acromegaly-related treatments during the study period. Of those treated with medications, the most common first medications were octreotide, cabergoline, and bromocriptine. Given the high incidence of serious comorbidities associated with active acromegaly, earlier diagnosis and treatment, along with appropriate follow-up care, may potentially avoid the life-long consequences of uncontrolled disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acromegaly / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Bromocriptine / therapeutic use
  • Cabergoline
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ergolines / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / analogs & derivatives
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Peptides, Cyclic / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Somatostatin / analogs & derivatives
  • Somatostatin / therapeutic use
  • United States


  • Ergolines
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • lanreotide
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Bromocriptine
  • Somatostatin
  • Cabergoline
  • pegvisomant
  • Octreotide