Programs and Disease Treatment
Treating Cushing's Syndrome
The best course of treatment for Cushing’s disease, ectopic ACTH syndrome and other forms of Cushing’s syndrome depends on the cause of the symptoms.
If Medications Are Elevating CortisolWhen Cushing’s syndrome is caused by an excessive level of cortisol due to medications, reducing the dosage may be an option. If not, treatment will involve symptom relief and medication to help prevent bone loss.
Pituitary Tumor SurgeryWhen Cushing’s is caused by a pituitary tumor, the most effective treatment is surgery. Tumors may recur, however, so an annual assessment of cortisol secretion is important.
If pituitary surgery does not resolve the symptoms or if the tumor recurs, several treatment options are available, including:
- A repeat operation
- Radiation therapy
- Medication, both oral and injected
Adrenal Tumor TreatmentIf an adrenal gland tumor is the cause, the most effective treatment is the removal of the gland through minimally invasive surgery, followed by lifelong oral steroid replacement.
Symptom ReliefPatients with Cushing’s syndrome may also receive treatment for specific symptoms, such as medication for high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. Education plays an important role in teaching patients about helpful lifestyle changes.
Last Review Date: April 16, 2013
Online Editor(s): Shannon Krause