Longstanding hyperprolactinemia associated with systemic lupus erythematosus: possible hormonal stimulation of an autoimmune disease

J Rheumatol. 1994 May;21(5):843-50.


Objective: To describe 4 women in whom hyperprolactinemia was associated with the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: Clinical assessment and followup (2 cases). Chart review and interviews with the attending rheumatologist (2 cases). Detailed review and reassessment of multiple imaging studies of the pituitary.

Results: One patient had idiopathic hyperprolactinemia, and 3 had pituitary microadenomas. Serum 17 beta-estradiol concentrations were normal in all women, but serum testosterone was suppressed in 2. SLE flares occurred in 2 individuals, one and 6 months after bromocriptine therapy was discontinued, and reinstitution of bromocriptine therapy in a patient who refused corticosteroids resulted in resolution of her SLE disease activity.

Conclusion: Hyperprolactinemia, which has the potential to exacerbate autoimmunity, may coexist with SLE. In these instances, bromocriptine may afford therapeutic benefit.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Bromocriptine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / complications*
  • Hyperprolactinemia / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / complications
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prolactinoma / complications
  • Prolactinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Time Factors


  • Bromocriptine