Prolactinoma and pregnancy: From the wish of conception to lactation

Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2016 Jun;77(2):128-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ando.2016.04.001. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Prolactinoma is a common cause of infertility in young women and treatment with dopamine agonists (DA) allows restoration of fertility in over 90% of the cases. Both bromocriptine and cabergoline have shown a good safety profile when administered during early pregnancy. In particular, data on exposure of the fetus or embryo to cabergoline during the first weeks of pregnancy have now been reported in more than 900 cases, and do indicate that cabergoline is safe in this context. There is no increase in the frequency of spontaneous miscarriage, premature delivery, multiple births or neonatal malformations, and follow-up studies of the children for up to 12years after fetal exposure to cabergoline did not show any physical or developmental abnormalities. These women should therefore continue DA treatment until pregnancy has been initiated. Treatment discontinuation is recommended at that time in women with microprolactinoma or non-compressive macroprolactinoma. For microprolactinomas, the risk of symptomatic tumour enlargement during pregnancy is very low (2-3%). It is higher for macroprolactinomas (20-30%) and careful follow-up is advised, including MRI without contrast injection if symptoms or visual disturbances develop. If a symptomatic tumour enlargement does occur, reinitiation of the dopamine agonist (BRC or CAB) is indicated rather than surgery. Breast-feeding has no harmful effect on tumour growth and DA treatment, if still needed, may be postponed as long as breast-feeding is desired. Finally, about 40% of women with a microprolactinoma or an intermediate size macroprolactinoma may be in prolonged remission after one or more pregnancies.

Keywords: Bromocriptine; Cabergoline; Gestation; Grossesse; Hyperprolactinaemia; Hyperprolactinémie; Pregnancy; Prolactinoma; Prolactinome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fertilization / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / complications
  • Hyperprolactinemia / drug therapy
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Lactation* / drug effects
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Preconception Care / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / drug therapy
  • Prolactin / adverse effects
  • Prolactin / metabolism
  • Prolactinoma / complications*
  • Prolactinoma / drug therapy


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Prolactin