1. What other tests may be done to evaluate an elevated prolactin?
Other tests that may be done include testosterone (levels will usually be low in a male when prolactin is high), FSH, and LH (to help evaluate ovulation and fertility), an MRI of the brain (to show pituitary enlargement and help locate a tumor), and an eye examination (to evaluate visual disturbances). Elevated prolactin levels require further laboratory tests to ensure that the elevation is not due to macroprolactin (see Question 4).
Prolactinomas may be treated with medications that act like dopamine (such as bromocriptine or cabergoline) to decrease prolactin production. Treatment can reduce prolactin levels and symptoms and restore fertility, but the medications may have to be taken for several months or years. Surgery is sometimes necessary if the prolactinomas are large or not responding to treatment. This surgery is delicate and requires an experienced surgeon. Sometimes, despite medication and/or surgery, the prolactinoma recurs.
A number of otherwise healthy people have elevated prolactin levels because some of the prolactin in their blood is in a different form called macroprolactin. Macroprolactin is prolactin that is bound to a protein (immunoglobulin), is not active in the body, and does not indicate the presence of disease. If an elevated prolactin is found, further laboratory tests may be done to make sure that this is not due to macroprolactin.
This article was last reviewed on May 15, 2014. | This article was last modified on December 19, 2014.
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