Cushing's disease: the treatments

The treatments differ according to the cause.

If the disease is due to a pituitary gland adenoma, the tumor - removing surgery is the first - choice treatment, even when the adenoma is not visible on MRI.

This surgical operation is quite delicate, since it involves intervening on the gland located at the base of the brain. It can be performed under endoscopy. When performed by an expert neurosurgeon, it provides a remission rate (healing in the months following surgery) of 75%.

Sometimes radiation therapy directed at the pituitary gland can be performed. When surgery is not possible, or the result is disappointing, medication may be prescribed. This consists of synthetic anticortisolics that act on the adrenal glands to block the secretion of cortisol. If the hypercorticisime (excess of cortisol) is severe, it can even be administered before the operation. These medications require a good medical follow-up.

Although surgical treatment allows remission of Cushing's disease in most cases, patients are not immune to recurrence. In fact, the adenoma develops again 5 years later in 20% of cases.

If Cushing's syndrome is due to an adrenal adenoma, the surgical removal of the tumor is also the treatment of choice.

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