Cushing syndrome : Treatment

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause.

Cushing syndrome caused by corticosteroid use:

  • Slowly decrease the drug dose (if possible) under medical supervision.
  • If you cannot stop taking the medication because of disease, your high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, and bone thinning or osteoporosis should be closely monitored.

Cushing syndrome caused by a pituitary tumor or tumor that releases ACTH:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Radiation after removal of a pituitary tumor (in some cases)
  • You may need hydrocortisone (cortisol) replacement therapy after surgery, and possibly continued throughout your life

Cushing syndrome due to an adrenal tumor or other tumors:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • If the tumor cannot be removed, medications to help block the release of cortisol

Prognosis (Expectations)

Removing the tumor may lead to full recovery, but there is a chance that the condition will return.

Survival for people with ectopic tumors depends on the tumor type. Untreated, Cushing syndrome can be life-threatening.

Complications

  • Diabetes
  • Enlargement of pituitary tumor
  • Fractures due to osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney stones
  • Serious infections

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Cushing syndrome.


Review Date : 9/20/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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